MAY 02, 2007
A Texas judge and a group of elected officials are fighting to stop construction of a congressionally approved border fence, claiming that it will damage cross-border commerce and send the wrong message to their southern neighbor.
In an effort to improve the illegal immigration crisis in the U.S., federal lawmakers passed legislation last year to build 700 miles of fence along busy corridors of Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico. The plan includes fencing along a popular 135-mile stretch of the Texas-Mexico border along the Rio Grande Valley.
Officials from the south Texas cities of Laredo, McAllen and Progreso along with an Hidalgo County judge are demanding that the Department of Homeland Security stop the fence project in their area because it will generate ill feelings in Mexico.
Hidalgo County Judge J.D. Salinas went so far as to say that the fence will damage the regional economy because Mexicans cross daily to make bank deposits, buy real estate, shop and work. So the judge, along with the mayors of the border cities, wants Homeland Security to accommodate them by instead creating a “virtual” fence of surveillance cameras and Border Patrol agents.
Homeland Security officials say such virtual fences are used in remote and rural areas, but an actual structure is essential in metropolitan areas such as these because illegal aliens can easily hide in a home or a business.
The national security threat is not enough for this group of open border advocates, who happen to be publicly paid officials. In fact, they created a coalition of Texas border city mayors and judges to actively push lawmakers for an open border that provides equitable treatment for Mexican citizens.
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