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  1. #1
    Senior Member cvangel's Avatar
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    Nov 2006

    El Paso officials frustrated by decision to build fence

    El Paso officials frustrated by decision to ignore laws in building border fence
    By Brandi Grissom / Austin Bureau
    Article Launched: 04/01/2008 05:05:25 PM MDT

    AUSTIN -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to use its authority to waive any legal or environmental challenges that might get in the way of constructing 670 miles of border fence by the end of this year, officials said Tuesday.
    "Congress and the American public have been adamant that they want and expect border security," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "We're serious about delivering it, and these waivers will enable important security projects to keep moving forward."

    The decision left El Paso officials and border residents who object to plans to build more than 50 miles of new fencing in the region and hundreds of miles of barrier in Texas, disappointed and frustrated.

    "It's sort of like watching a train wreck, not too much you can about it except wait 'til it's over," said Mayor John Cook, who was in Washington, D.C.

    Last month, City Council voted to deny federal officials access to city land designated for new fencing.

    The waivers, Cook said, seem to nullify the city's action.

    By invoking the two legal waivers, DHS will bypass about 30 laws, including environmental regulations, legal challenges and administrative red tape, that could slow down the fence building. The waivers apply to about 470 miles of the border fence.

    "I employed this authority to ensure that these projects will proceed without unnecessary delays caused by administrative processes or potential litigation," Chertoff said in a written statement.




    the waivers, Chertoff said the agency was "deeply committed" to environmental responsibility and would work to analyze and minimize impacts to the environment, wildlife, and cultural and historic artifacts. He also said DHS would continue seeking input from border communities.
    Opposition to the fence has been widespread among Texas border residents. In the Rio Grande Valley, DHS has filed lawsuits against property owners who denied governmental access to their land.

    The Texas Border Coalition, a group of elected officials and business leaders, were outraged at Chertoff's decision to use the waivers.

    "Instead of shredding our nation's environmental and cultural heritage, the federal government should be working toward genuine solutions," said TBC chairman and Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster.

    Critics worry not only about the unfriendly message they say the fence sends to Mexico, but also about detrimental effects fencing off the Rio Grande could have on the environment.

    "For us, it's our very lives," said Bill Addington, whose land in Hudspeth County is just about seven miles from the proposed fence. "We make our living off the river, we have our animals, which we love as much as our families, that live off the river."

    Farmers in the El Paso area are also worried the fence could cut off access to water for irrigating crops.

    Jesus "Chuy" Reyes, El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 general manager, said he has been working with federal officials to put the fence somewhere that wouldn't impede access to water.

    "That (the waivers) proposes quite a concern, because that could give them the right to just proceed forward" with the current plan, Reyes said.

    Ken Kramer, Texas director for the Sierra Club, said ecotourism in the Rio Grande Valley would be hardest hit by the fence.

    "Waiving longstanding laws would undermine decades of work to establish and preserve a vibrant wildlife corridor," he said.

    Construction on the border fence in Texas has not started yet. DHS has built than 300 miles of fencing in other states.

    Socorro Mayor Trini Lopez said he fears the fence could affect the livelihoods of his constituents who live along the border and of the wildlife in his rural community.

    "It looks like the federal government has the universal power to do whatever they want to," Lopez said. " I don't think it's fair."

    Brandi Grissom can be reached at; (512) 479-6606.

  2. #2
    Senior Member cvangel's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    And a related "idiotic" blog:

    April 01, 2008
    Deport the fence!
    Many of the hard-core anti-immigrant crowd claim they just want to follow the law. "They are here illegally!" "This country is built on LAWS!"

    I wonder what they think now that the government has announced that, in its push to quickly build a border fence, they plan on ignoring more than 30 laws!

    After it's finished, I want this law-breaking fence deported!

    We are a country of laws, after all.

    They were against it before they were for it

    Back on March 19th, the El Paso City Council came out strongly in opposition to a border fence.

    But today, they decided to force homeowners with young children to build bigger fences around their pools.

    To quote an editor here: "You can build a fence around a pool, but not a country."

    Posted at 05:14 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2008
    Socorro Mayor Trini Lopez said he fears the fence could affect the livelihoods of his constituents who live along the border and of the wildlife in his rural community.
    Is this guy a mayor of an American City? I cannot tell by the name or his rhetoric.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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