Fences are Ridiculous

Haymarket Fence

I'm with the landowners, for once. Walls of steel and iron do not equal good immigration policy. Not to mention the fact that some of the residents of South Texas have owned property here since before the United States even existed.

A barrier many doubted would ever be built suddenly looks very real

BROWNSVILLE, Texas When Congress approved the construction of a nearly 700-mile-long fence along the U.S.-Mexico border two years ago to keep out terrorists, drug smugglers and illegal immigrants, many residents in this bustling border town were certain the idea was just politics and would soon be discarded as unworkable.

[snip] "To appease people in middle America, they are going to kill our communities along the border," said Pat Ahumada, the mayor of Brownsville. "The rest of America has no idea how we live our lives here. We are linked by the Rio Grande, not divided by it. Our history, our families, our neighbors are tied together on both sides of that river."

By the end of this year, the Department of Homeland Security intends to erect 670 miles of single- and double-fencing along the border, about 180 miles of it in Texas. But this isn't a straightforward fence.

Even when construction is complete, the fence will not be an unbroken barrier. Instead, sections of fencing will start and stop, interspersed with natural barriers such as mountains or open areas where surveillance cameras and invisible tripwires will alert Border Patrol agents when someone tries to cross.

In some areas, according to draft maps issued by the government, the fence will follow the contours of the wildly twisting Rio Grande, which forms the natural border between Texas and Mexico. In other areas, it will abut an old earthen levee that lies a mile or more from from the border, potentially cutting farmers off from their fields and the fabled river, which is their historic source of irrigation.

Steel in some places and wrought iron in others, the fence may run through selected wildlife habitats while stopping short of selected golf course communities.

[From Feds sue border landowners over fence]
And of course, we must, we must, we must protect the golf courses at all costs.

But wherever it runs—officials say the final route hasn't yet been decided—the fence will require the government to condemn and purchase thousands of acres of private property. And that has outraged scores of border landowners, such as Eloisa Garcia Tamez, who have defied requests from the federal government to grant government surveyors access to their properties.

This week, the U.S. Justice Department began taking those landowners into federal court, seeking judicial orders to compel them to grant the government the temporary right to enter their properties. Of 135 landowners in California, Arizona and Texas sent warning letters by last month, 102 have refused to comply, according to homeland security officials.

"This land has been in my family since 1767, when my ancestors received 12,000 acres from the king of Spain," said Tamez, 72, the director of graduate nursing at the University of Texas at Brownsville. "I don't want to just give it up on a whim."

Tamez's holdings are down to just 3 acres in the tiny hamlet of El Calaboz, 12 miles northwest of Brownsville. But she said she's determined to make the government prove in court why it must take some of her land for the fence.
No racism involved at all either:
For Nydia Garcia and her family, who own border farmlands just up the road from Tamez, the objection is more pragmatic. Most of their fields would fall on the outside of the proposed route, still on American soil but consigned to a new no man's land between the fence and the Rio Grande.

"Are we going to have to ask permission from the Border Patrol every time we need to plow?" she asked as she led a reporter on a back-roads tour of her family's property.

As if to answer her question, within a few minutes a Border Patrol agent drove up and asked Garcia who she was and why she was driving near the river.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 16, 2008 9:42 AM.

John King is an ass was the previous entry in this blog.

McCormick Place is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37