Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, compiled a report recommending the Trump administration base its planned U.S.-Mexico border wall on a fence erected by Israel along its border with Egypt.
Johnson's report asserts that constructing a barrier similar to the fence that Israel built along the Sinai Peninsula in 2013 would be less expensive and more effective than President Donald Trump's proposed concrete wall, the Washington Examiner reports.
The report is titled "Securing Israel: Lessons Learned from a Nation Under Constant Threat of Attack."
Johnson visited Israel to examine the country's methods of blocking out migrants from neighboring nations. In his report, he found that the Sinai fence cost $415 million and covers 143 miles. It costs $8.3 million each year to maintain the structure. For comparison, Johnson noted that the U.S. has already spent $2.3 billion to build fences along the 654-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
"Israeli fences have proven more effective than the fencing in the United States and, in regards to the fencing along its border with Egypt, was constructed at a significantly cheaper cost," the report stated. "The characteristics of Israel's fences offer important lessons for the United States as it seeks to construct additional fencing along the southwest border."
The Sinai fence is made of steel and is bolstered by sensors. It was designed to prevent migration from Africa through Egypt into Israel and evidence indicates it was successful. While 10,000 African migrants entered Israel in 2012, that number dropped to mere dozens by 2016, according to The Washington Post.
Trump has cited Israel's barriers as justification for his controversial wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. On Jan. 26, the president asserted a wall would provide Americans will both security and a sense of protection.
"All you've got to do is ask Israel," Trump told Fox News. "They were having a total disaster coming across, and they had a wall. It's 99.9 percent stoppage."
The president did not clarify which wall he was referring to. Israel has erected several barriers across its borders, including the controversial fence along the Gaza Strip. That barrier cuts through swaths of Palestinian territory and has been previously deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice, reports The New York Times.
Shortly after Trump's interview, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced support on social media, citing the Sinai fence.
"President Trump is right," Netanyahu tweeted out. "I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea."
Netanyahu's statement sparked controversy, given that Israel is an ally of Mexico. The Mexican Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing "its profound astonishment, rejection and disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu's message on Twitter ... Mexico is a friend of Israel and should be treated as such by its prime minister."
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon issued a statement asserting that Netanyahu "referred to our specific security experience which we are willing to share. We do not express a position on U.S.-Mexico relations."