jumping fence fascism

fence on cameron

“How do you get representatives who aren’t from Texas to care about Texas?”

That’s what the non-profit conservation director was asking. The topic? What else? The Border Wall and the inane U.S. Secure Fence Act of 2006 and the Real ID Act provision that has unleashed a rabid landgrabber and envirospoiler into our river communities.

proposed-ii.jpgIn my two-and-a-half weeks traveling the river, the only survey stakes I found were in Eagle Pass. Big surprise. The Pass is home to outspoken fence critic and generally sensible Mayor Chad Foster.

Even with Chertoff under increasing fire in Washington, Foster is banking on reprisals. Already, fencing at his private property has been driven over — by patrolling rinches, or borderpatrolmen, he says.

I blogged at Muro yesterday about the new chipped passports and integration of that technology coming to the port upriver in Del Rio. Now it appears we’re trying to muscle in on European Union databases.

A German official charged with data protection expressed concern ahead of talks Tuesday between US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and government ministers in Berlin. Peter Schaar, the federal commissioner for data protection, expressed criticism of a planned extension of data exchange between Europe and the United States in an interview on national public radio.

Schaar referred to a 2005 agreement between seven European Union members, including Germany, that allows comprehensive exchange of information, saying there were built-in safeguards. The agreement, known as the Pruem Convention or as Schengen III, should not be extended to the US, where data protection standards were not equivalent, Schaar said.

US data protection legislation covered only US citizens and “expressly not data from abroad,” he told Deutschlandfunk … The ministers were expected to agree on data exchange to counter terrorism, including information on fingerprints and DNA.

Cue the Small World music.

Out of all the dozens of condemnation suits that Chertoff has brought on the Texas border to secure his promised 150 miles of fence/wall/bad idea, the only U.S. citizen to counter sue is a woman named Eloisa Tamez.

I spent a good deal of time with Eloisa at her land in El Calaboz, as well as a brief visit after the International Women’s Day March (Cue Internationale).

Eloisa suspects alternative motives, something more than “National Security,” considering the Wall is crossing many low-income neighborhoods and skipping the mega-resorts planned by Bush Buddies.

She tells me:

Illegal immigration is something that’s been going on for decades and governments have been unable to resolve it. I’m not really sure if they’ve tried. Since for a long time corporate America seems to make use of cheap labor, I’m wondering how much they really tried. You believe that if governments are working together they can come up with a solution.

Then there is the small matter of the river and the tens of thousands of protected wildlife acres we would be walling up. In a fragile land with but a fraction of original wildlife habitat left, this is another pitiful aspect of Homeland plans that ups the blood pressure.

As the the conservation director puts it:

People haven’t really thought how is our center going to operate. It’s not that the fence or the wall or whatever you want to call it is going in on the border. I mean, you’re creating an entirely new border.

And when we’ve fractured the last remaining pockets of native habitat, where do those tenacious though few remaining endangered critters go?

[Check the Current series, if the Border Wall issue interests you. Part III hits the streets tomorrow. Also: check out Homeland Security's own wall plans if you need any convincing of this asinine proposal.]

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2 responses to “jumping fence fascism

  1. One fundamental problem with the border wall that is currently under construction in California and Arizona and will break ground (literally) in Texas in the next month or so is the fact that DHS does not have to obey any of our nation’s environmental laws. Section 102 of the Real ID Act says, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff has already waived as many as 19 federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, to build walls in California and Arizona. With endangered ocelot and migratory birds in south Texas’ refuges he is almost certain to write a Real ID waiver for Texas. The Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club have petitioned the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of Chertoff’s power, but if the court eventually takes up the case it may be too late for the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

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