There's something deeply ironic about this:
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., introduced the hearing, titled "Walls and Waivers," as a forum on the expedited construction of the border fence and its affect on the environment along the border. During the five-hour hearing, the conversation shifted to a more general evaluation of the barrier's merits.
"To examine the history, culture, economics of the border and then to decide the only solution is a 700-mile fence," Grijalva said in opening remarks, "is simply a failure of leadership."
U.S. Reps. Tom Tancredo, R-Col., and Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., both former 2008 presidential hopefuls, disagreed with Grijalva. Hunter referred to the success of a double fence in his district, on the border between San Diego and Tijuana.
"Our fence put the border gangs out of business because they lost their ability to move back and forth," said Hunter, who authored the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
Tancredo took issue with what he called "landowners' multi-culturalist views on the border."
"If you don't like the idea (of a fence), maybe you should consider building the fence around the northern part of your city," Tancredo said amid jeers from the audience.