May 03, 2007
More border fence opposition

Following up on yesterday's piece about border fence pushback from the folks who are on the business end of it, we have this surprisingly unified response from Texas officials.

"It's clear that our state leaders, and I'm going to say the Legislature as a whole -- I can't speak for every member -- is not in support of this wall. It will bring negative effects," said Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville.

The outcry came after a new map emerged showing federal plans for the border fence. Border community leaders said they were assured they would be able to give input before any fence plans went forward, but they said that never happened.

They said more Border Patrol officers and camera surveillance are better ways to use the money and that the Rio Grande provides a natural river barrier that could be more easily patrolled if thick brush were cleared from its banks.

The Customs and Border Protection map depicts a planned structure running piecemeal along a 600-mile stretch of Texas from Presidio to Brownsville.

"I think the president himself needs to get a gauge in his home state," Lucio said.

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, a McAllen Democrat, called the proposed fence a "wall of shame."

Members of the Texas Border Coalition, consisting of border mayors, county judges and economic development commissions, met with Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst today and aides to Republican House Speaker Tom Craddick. They said both leaders offered support for their opposition to the fence.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry did not meet with the group today because his schedule was full, an aide said. In the past, Perry has said he disagrees with those who want a wall or fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, though he has said some fencing in urban areas makes sense.

"Building a wall along the border is not an answer to securing the border. It would create a false sense of security," said Perry spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger. "The governor does believe that strategic fencing along high population areas makes sense."

But more manpower and other security resources -- not an unmanned wall -- are better options, she said.

We're speaking. Is anyone listening?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 03, 2007 to National news