Working With Us | Products | Case Studies | FAQ | About Online Media

Texas Showdown, Modern Issue

Feb
15
2008

Texas has long been romanticized for its Wild West, in-your-face, up-against-the-odds streak of defiant independence. It’s the kind of defiance that created historical legends and which has always been hailed as a badge of honor by Texans.

Remember the Alamo?

Yet, who would have thought that in this day and age there would be a necessary resurgence of this kind of Lone Star defiance that would pit generational Texans against the federal government?

It’s exactly what is happening in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley between Texans, who live along the border with Mexico, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS is gunning for 180 miles of Texas land to build part of the congressionally mandated 670 miles of border fence dedicated to border security.

In the process of trying to wrestle the land away from its owners, the federal government is trampling on the property rights of Texans some of whom can trace their family lands to deeds granted by the King of Spain in the 1700s.

And the agency is increasingly creating tension between Texas and Mexico border neighbors who have historically depended on each other for economic support. On top of that, the government’s latest court actions are cultivating an ever-growing distrust and resentment between South Texas residents and Washington.

Unlike the past when Texans would lay down their lives rather than compromise their ideals, modern-day South Texans want to work with the federal government. It’s the government that doesn’t want to work with them.

Time and time again, delegations from the Texas border region have trekked to Washington to present their case – that there are better ways to secure the border. Building a barrier along the bordert would not only evoke memories of the Berlin Wall but create a hardship in the region.

Each time, border delegations’ ideas have been rebuffed.

Alternative suggestions include the creation of a natural barrier by constructing a weir dam along the Rio Grande that would raise the water level, widen the river and back it up for 42 miles.

One of the proponents of the weir dam, Brownsville Mayor Pat Ahumada, says that this idea creates a virtual fence that could easily be patrolled with high-speed boats, electronic equipment and border agents. It also would only cost about $40 million, much less than the barbed wire/chain-link variety.

The mayor isn’t shy about admitting that such an idea would offer a range of economic opportunities to develop the river for tourism — something badly needed in a region that is home to some of the poorest counties in the nation.

For unknown reasons, the government wasn’t interested in this idea.

So border residents had another one: build the fence along the levees in the area. The fence would reinforce the levees without adversely affecting the flood plain. As it stands now, the proposed fence would impact the region’s ecological and historical corridor that lies along the river and which also serves as another source of tourism dollars.

Once again, this idea wasn’t received well.

If the proposed fence were to go up today, it would cut through the region in such a way that it would disrupt the fragile nature preserve that draws thousands of bird watchers every year and cede several historical landmarks to Mexico.

In what has become standard practice for this administration, little thought has been given to the consequences or logistics of the proposed fence. Nor does DHS feel they have to discuss it with Texas landowners.

In a document distributed by the agency titled “Border Fence Construction Outreach,” it stated that DHS had held 18 town hall meetings about the border fence.

Yet when pressed by the local media about the meetings, DHS was forced to admit that none of the meetings were held in the Rio Grande Valley. The majority were “briefings” held at Border Patrol stations.

It’s clear the government doesn’t want citizen input, nor obstruction.

So far, the DHS has filed 33 border wall condemnation lawsuits against Rio Grande Valley residents. They are suing for 180-day temporary access to the lands so federal contractors can “survey and conduct soil borings to aid in planning the fence’s location.”

The government hopes to have construction of the fence completed by the end of the year — right before a new President is to be sworn in.

As was to be expected, the first round of Texas landowners targeted by federal lawsuits have lost.

Yet, being Texans, the battle is far from over.


It’s exactly what is happening in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley between Texans, who live along the border with Mexico, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS is gunning for 180 miles of Texas land to build part of the congressionally mandated 670 miles of border fence dedicated to border security.
The only problem is that in the process of trying to wrestle the land away from its owners, the federal government is trampling on the property rights of Texans who can trace their family lands to deeds granted by the King of Spain in the 1700s.
Also, the agency is increasingly creating tension between Texas and Mexico border neighbors who have historically depended on each other for economic support. On top of that, the government’s latest court actions are cultivating an ever-growing distrust and resentment between South Texas residents and Washington.
However, unlike the past when Texans would lay down their lives rather than compromise their ideals, modern-day South Texans want to work with the federal government — it’s the government that doesn’t want to work with them.
Time and time again, delegations from the Texas border region have trekked to Washington to present their case that there are better ways to secure the border than building a barrier that would not only evoke memories of the Berlin Wall but create a hardship in the region.
Each time, border delegations’ ideas have been rebuffed.
Ideas have ranged from creating a natural barrier by constructing a weir dam along the river that would raise the water level, widen the river and back it up for 42 miles.
One of the proponents of the weir dam, Brownsville Mayor Pat Ahumada, says that this idea creates a virtual fence that could easily be patrolled with high-speed boats, electronic equipment and border agents. It also would only cost about $40 million, much less than the barbed wire/chain-link variety.
The mayor isn’t shy about admitting that such an idea would offer a range of economic opportunities to develop the river for tourism — something badly needed in a region that is home to some of the poorest counties in the nation.
For unknown reasons, the government wasn’t interested in this idea.
So border residents had another one: build the fence along the levees in the area. The fence would reinforce the levees without adversely affecting the flood plain. As it stands now, the proposed fence would impact the region’s ecological and historical corridor that lies along the river and which also serves as another source of tourism dollars.
Once again, this idea wasn’t received well.
If the proposed fence were to go up today, it would cut through the region in such a way that it would disrupt the fragile nature preserve that draws thousands of bird watchers every year and cede several historical landmarks to Mexico.
In what has become standard practice for this administration, little thought has been given to the consequences or logistics of the proposed fence. Nor does DHS feel they have to discuss it with Texas landowners.
In a document distributed by the agency titled “Border Fence Construction Outreach,” it stated that DHS had held 18 town hall meetings about the border fence.
Yet when pressed by the local media about the meetings, DHS was forced to admit that none of the meetings were held in the Rio Grande Valley. The majority were “briefings” held at Border Patrol stations.
It’s clear the government doesn’t want citizen input, nor obstruction.
So far, the DHS has filed 33 border wall condemnation lawsuits against Rio Grande Valley residents. They are suing for 180-day temporary access to the lands so federal contractors can “survey and conduct soil borings to aid in planning the fence’s location.”
The government hopes to have construction of the fence completed by the end of the year — right before a new President is to be sworn in.
As was to be expected, the first round of Texas landowners targeted by federal lawsuits have lost.
Yet, being Texans, the battle is far from over.

Share  Posted by Marisa Trevino at 10:31 AM | Permalink

<< Back to the Spotlight blog




Get Our Weekly Email Newsletter




What We're Reading - Spot-On Books

Hot Spots - What's Hot Around the Web



Spot-on.com | Promote Your Page Too

Spot-on Main | Pinpoint Persuasion | Spotlight Blog | RSS Subscription | Spot-on Writers | Privacy Policy | Contact Us