El Paso Lawmakers Skirt Federal Fence Law
MAY 07, 2008
Blaming the nation’s illegal immigration crisis on racism against Mexicans, commissioners in a major Texas county passed a resolution to stop construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and halt local enforcement of immigration laws.
The El Paso County Commission voted 3-1 in favor of a measure blocking the federally mandated border wall and prohibiting local police from enforcing immigration law. The new measure also places a moratorium on immigration raids and halts all programs that criminalize illegal immigrants.
The Secure Fence Act was approved by Congress and signed into law by the president in 2006 to protect the nation’s vulnerable southern border from illegal immigration, drug smuggling and terrorism. The law authorizes the construction of hundreds of miles of fencing, more vehicle barriers, checkpoints and the use of advanced technology.
Mayors in at least three Texas cities (Brownsville, Del Rio and El Paso) along the Mexican border have refused to give the federal government access to their land to build the fence, but El Paso County is the first to pass legislation. The county with about 722,000 residents has a large illegal immigrant population that annually costs taxpayers millions of dollars to incarcerate, educate and hospitalize.
The El Paso County commissioner that introduced the legislation says the measure was necessary because the national immigration problem is due to racism against Mexicans. Commissioner Miguel Teran also pointed out that the September 11 terrorists came from the north yet the U.S. isn’t building walls over there.
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