One of the most important developments in the effort by border residents to combat the national effort to secure the border using a wall or fence is gaining traction.
Developed in Texas, the concept of a border levee system is gaining significant traction with Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, approving the levee concept in Hidalgo County.
The border wall (as originally proposed) will have a severe negative impact on border communities in Texas without any promise of actually making the border more secure or reducing the influx of illegal immigrants.
The border levee concept enhances existing barriers along the border while minimizing the impact to counties, cities and private property holders.The current federal plan would put parts of UT-Brownsville and Texas' Southernmost College (UTB-TSC), including parts of both state property and historic assets, on the Mexican side of the border wall.
Congressman Henry Cuellar and Congressman Ruben Hinojosa have led the effort in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas to offer alternatives to the border wall including the levee system, increases in Customs & Border Patrol, and increased use of technology.
This current compromise only affects about 22 miles of the US-Mexico border, so our fight to keep the other 370+ miles of border wall from being built is far from over. But this is a major development that proves that alternatives are available and that Chertoff is far more susceptible to reason and practicality than anyone (including myself) would have ever imagined.
In addition to providing a badly needed alternative to the border wall, the levees will also provide critical flood prevention.
The proposal, as it stands now, will have a crippling effect on the culture, economy, environment and private property rights along the border.
The joke in both DC and the border areas is that no one wants the contract to build the border wall…but everyone wants the contract to build the ladders that will be used to climb the wall and the shovels that will be used to dig under the wall.
World history has largely proven that border walls and/or fences are ineffectual as a means of stopping the flow of either persons or contraband. (See Berlin, Gaza, China.)
The border wall concept is a top priority of Senator john cornyn and other right-wingers.
Every member of the US Congress has a responsibility to stop this total waste of tax dollars.
In 1996, even republicans thought Pat Buchanan was crazy for proposing such a wall. Today it is hardly challenged outside of Democratic congressmen along the border.
In these difficult financial times where we can't find the money to pay for SCHIP or provide PTSD care for returning veterans, this ridiculous waste of money seems even more ridiculous.
Kudos to my client Cong. Cuellar, Cong. Hinojosa and the other Democrats, both local and national, that are fighting this important battle.
We each have an obligation to contact our state legislators and members of congress to voice our opposition to this border wall and encourage the use of both common sense alternatives and just plain common sense.