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

    Hutchison on defensive over border fence amendment

    U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, says she feels like the story has been "blown out of proportion."
    Mayra Beltran: Chronicle

    Jan. 12, 2008, 11:51AM
    Hutchison on defensive over border fence amendment

    Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

    Comments (243) Recommend (1)

    Immigration news, links and multimedia
    NewsWatch: Immigration blog WASHINGTON — In an uncharacteristic display of public frustration with party colleagues, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Friday sharply criticized two Republican congressmen who had accused her of a stealth effort to derail the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Conservative blogs and pundits have attacked Hutchison ever since Reps. Peter King of New York and Duncan Hunter of California accused the Texas Republican of essentially repealing Congress' mandate to build 700 miles of fencing.

    "This was a midnight massacre," King said of an amendment Hutchison shepherded into law last month. "It was absolutely disgraceful."

    After being labeled "Panderer to the Criminal Invader" and called a traitor to border security, Hutchison fought back Friday.

    "There is misinformation, and I think the congressmen who should know better exactly what has happened have been a little loose with the facts," she said in an interview.

    "I am a little frustrated that Rep. King and I guess Rep. Hunter are feigning surprise," Hutchison said, noting that both men were notified as far back as September 2006 that she intended to amend the law ordering 700 miles of double-layer fencing.

    The controversy is over an amendment that Hutchison inserted into a $555 billion spending bill that President Bush signed into law the day after Christmas.

    The measure repealed the parts of the 2006 law that dictated both the fence's location and design — to the dismay of King and Hunter, who advocate the use of double-layer fencing to halt illegal crossings.

    The Department of Homeland Security essentially had been ignoring the order to build double-layered fencing anyway, with only a handful of the 166 miles constructed to date comprising a fence, a patrol road in between and a second fence.

    Hutchison, who insists her measure in no way jeopardizes the fence construction due to get under way in Texas in the spring, noted that similar language passed the Senate on three separate occasions last year.

    What the new law does, Hutchison said, is require that the government consult with landowners and local elected officials, many of whom have felt bulldozed and ignored by the federal government as it moves ahead with its plan to build 130 miles of fencing in Texas.

    "I feel like this has been a little blown out of proportion," Hutchison said.

    'Full steam ahead'
    The Department of Homeland Security echoed Hutchison's view that her language does not put the fence in jeopardy. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's pledge to build 370 miles by year's end is "full steam ahead," said spokeswoman Laura Keehner.

    But a prominent fence critic and a coalition of Texas border officials critical of the fence argued that her measure should force Homeland Security back to the drawing board and breathed new vigor into the anti-fence revolt along the Rio Grande.

    "We plan to see the Department of Homeland Security in court," said Peter Schey, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which may represent some Texas landowners who object to fencing on their property. ''Building the fence is back to square one."

    The Texas Border Coalition cited the Hutchison measure in calling on Chertoff to retract the plans that suggest where the Texas fence will be built "to assure that the consultation is authentic."

    Though the new law, which provided $1.2 billion to build the fence, directs Homeland Security officials to consult with affected local residents, it does not decree what constitutes appropriate consultation.

    Homeland Security officials, who insist they have been consulting closely with border residents, reject the stance that the new law changes anything.

    Hutchison herself appears to view the Homeland Security outreach effort, which included 18 town hall meetings and a dozen community briefings, as sufficient. "As far as I can tell, it's working fine," she said. "It doesn't mean they are going to do exactly what the local people request, but they have some ability to work it out."

    Border policymakers offered mixed assessments of the consultation to date.

    Mayor feels betrayed
    Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, chairman of the Texas Border Coalition, was frustrated Thursday by new word that the government intends to build nearly one mile of fencing in his city.

    Foster and the City Council thought they had fended off the fence last year in a deal with Homeland Security to cut down Carrizo cane along the river and add lighting and decorative fencing to a swath of land between two ports of entry.

    "We get to an agreement in January, and a year later that doesn't count," Foster said.

    But Del Rio Mayor Efrain Valdez was more complimentary of the department's outreach. "They have been listening to us," he said.

    Hutchison, caught between a national demand for border security and Texas constituents fearful that the fence will destroy their way of life, said she is trying to steer a careful course that achieves both objectives.

    "It's a difficult issue," she said.

  2. #2
    Senior Member AirborneSapper7's Avatar
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    May 2007
    South West Florida (Behind friendly lines but still in Occupied Territory)
    This freak needs to be locked up for Sedition and or Treason
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  3. #3
    Senior Member CCUSA's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    New Jersey

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  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Out West,
    Mayor feels betrayed
    Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, chairman of the Texas Border Coalition, was frustrated Thursday by new word that the government intends to build nearly one mile of fencing in his city.

    I'll assume Mayor Foster is upset building the fence may harm his lovely cities thriving tourism and travel industry? Lots of Mexican and Central American "Tourists..." won't be passing through when its built...think of all the local service employees (smugglers) that'll lose jobs. Here's a better headline...America feels betrayed
    "American"Â*with no hyphen andÂ*proud of it!

  5. #5
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Build the damn fence!!!
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