Skip to comments.Hostile reception for pro-fence congressmen in Brownsville
Posted on 04/28/2008 3:08:58 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch
BROWNSVILLE, Texas One of Congress' strongest border fence proponents received a hostile reception Monday in the city that has become the epicenter of fence opposition.
Boos and hisses emanated from the audience for a congressional field hearing when Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado dismissed residents' concerns that the effort to build 670 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border by year's end would damage the environment and destroy a centuries-old bond between residents on both sides of the Rio Grande.
Late in the five-hour hearing, Tancredo returned to a comment made earlier by panelist Betty Perez, a rancher and local activist. Perez said, "It really isn't a border to most of us who live down here."
Tancredo dismissed Perez's remarks as a "multiculturalist attitude toward borders."
As jeers rose, Tancredo added, "I suggest that you build this fence around the northern part of your city."
Brownsville sits at the southernmost tip of Texas, where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico. The border fence as planned would cut through the campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Southmost Texas College, leaving its golf course on the Mexican side.
Opposition to the fence is so pervasive that last fall, when the federal government offered property owners money for access to survey their land, Mayor Pat Ahumada called it "blood money."
The hearing was supposed to focus on the authority Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff used April 1 to bypass three dozen laws that could have slowed fence construction. Work on the fence in South Texas is scheduled to begin this summer.
Instead, panelists largely replayed the debate that has been raging in border communities for months in a lecture hall not far from where a section of 18-foot tall border fence would divide the campus.
Opinions about the pressing necessity for 670 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border split between those who see a war with drug smugglers and illegal immigrants spreading north from the border and those who see the fence as a threat to the environment and their way of life.
"This wall, built on U.S. soil, will not only move the U.S. border inward from the Rio Grande river, but will also alienate people and businesses who live and work between the wall and the border, in effect creating a zone where U.S. citizens and businesses exist 'south of the border,'" said Rev. Raymundo Pena, Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville. Pena submitted 10,000 signatures of people opposed to the fence.
Tancredo, who recently criticized Pope Benedict XVI for his comments in defense of immigrants, asked Pena if he believed there should be a border Pena said he does and said such references to the barrier as a "wall" were inaccurate and meant to dredge up images of the Berlin Wall.
"This is meant to keep people out," Tancredo said. The fence is a "logical and effective approach" and "perhaps the most humane way" to curb illegal immigration.
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and chairman of the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, has introduced legislation that would repeal Chertoff's waiver authority. Tuesday's was a joint field hearing with the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans.
Tancredo and U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, both former Republican presidential hopefuls who ran on anti-illegal immigration platforms, argued that environmental degradation caused by unchecked illegal immigration and drug smugglers exceeded any impact from the fence.
In defending the waivers, Hunter gave the example of a four-mile stretch of border fence through his Southern California district that took 12 years to build because of objections by environmentalists.
"I think he's done the right thing," Hunter said of Chertoff's decision to use the waivers.
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
The Berlin Wall kept people in — like prison walls. A border fence keeps outsiders outside — like the walls of a house. (FWIW — from a foreigner who respects a country’s right to control its borders.)
Build the fence north of Brownsville, so it can officially become Brownsville, Tamaulipas, Mexico. It’s apparently what the officials and residents really want.
Give me Hell Tancredo!!! You speak for me!!!
With apologies to the great Sleepy John Estes:
Im going to brownsville, climb that Northside fence
Well, Im going to brownsville, climb that Northside fence
And I aint gonna stop climbin’ till politician’s make sense
<...”This wall,...will also alienate people and businesses...” said Rev. Raymundo Pena, Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville.>
We can remedy that by building a giant seawall along the U.S. shore of the Rio Grande. We’ll use J-Damns to clear the path. Of course that would come after seizing everyone’s property through public domain condemnation. After the wall is built, just let them try and swim the river!
“Boos and hisses emanated from the audience for a congressional field hearing when Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado dismissed residents’ concerns that the effort to build 670 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border by year’s end would damage the environment and destroy a centuries-old bond between residents on both sides of the Rio Grande.”
Centuries-old bond between residents? When was the Alamo again?
Ah, the pathetic braying of Trojan Horses inside BEFORE the walls go up!
I like that idea of Tancredo's!
*Perez said, “It really isn’t a border to most of us who live down here.”*
Good! Then you won’t mind living south of it.
How far between the proposed fence and the actual surveyed border? I can appreciate one tiny point the opponents are making, i.e., if there's a large zone below the fence, but still on US soil, this will cut off citizens who live right on the border. (If there are any.) If we are speaking of a few yards, to allow patrols on the South Side of the fence, that's another matter. But surely, cutting a college campus in half cannot be a good idea.
Tancredo should wear his reception as a badge of honor.
The U.S. Marines should be sent to occupy Brownsville. Its appaently been seized by agents of a foreign power.
“Tancredo and U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, both former Republican presidential hopefuls who ran on anti-illegal immigration platforms, argued that environmental degradation caused by unchecked illegal immigration and drug smugglers exceeded any impact from the fence.”
Who will speak truths like this for us when these 2 men are gone from Congress next year?
“Centuries-old bond between residents? When was the Alamo again?”
Very good point!
Duncan D. Hunter, for one, AuntB.