OCTOBER 03, 2007
The mayors of at least three U.S. cities along the Mexican border are blocking the federal governmentâ??s plan to build a fence by denying workers access to land in their municipalities.
Claiming that a fence will hurt the cross-border economy and send the wrong message to their Mexican neighbors, the mayors of Brownsville, Del Rio and El Paso Texas have refused to allow federal employees to enter city property and begin surveys as well as other preliminary work on the fence.
The mayors assure that they are exercising their rights because they say itâ??s their property. All have vowed to make it difficult for government workers to do their job of securing the border, including the possibility of taking legal action.
In fact Brownsville Mayor Particio Ahumada has already gathered a team of city attorneys and officials to begin the process of filing a lawsuit against the federal government to keep the fence off city property. He says that residents in his municipality of about 170,000 overwhelmingly object to the barrier and he will fight it all the way up to the Supreme Court.
Mayor Ahumada also had a suggestion for the head of the government agency responsible for constructing the much-needed fence, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; â??I wish Mr. Chertoff would build a wall around his house.â?
The Secure Fence Act was authorized by Congress last year to protect the nation from terrorist threats, drug smuggling and illegal immigration. It calls for up to 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border and about 300 miles of â??virtual fencing,â? which will feature cameras, sensors and radars.
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