Gov't: Border fence to cost $6.5B over 20 years

WASHINGTON (AP) - A government audit released today says it will cost taxpayers $6.5 billion over the next 20 years to maintain fencing along the U.S-Mexico border.

The Government Accountability Office report says the Obama administration does not have a way to evaluate whether the investment has helped control illegal immigration.

The GAO study says the $6.5 billion price tag is in addition to the $2.4 billion that's been spent to build more than 600 miles of fence along the southwest border.

The fence is a Bush administration initiative that has faced several delays and cost increases.

Officials have said, depending on funding, that the whole southwestern border -- except for a stretch at Big Bend National Park in Texas -- would be covered by fencing or technology by 2014.

GAO says a more likely completion estimate is 2016.