Through The Static

May 21, 2008

Homeland Security Stands by Its Fence

Filed under: Culture,Government,Immigration,Politics,Race — disciplepete @ 5:41 pm

Some challenges to the Department of Homeland Security’s border fence…NYT:

NACO, Ariz. — As the Department of Homeland Security pushes to complete 670 miles of fencing along the Mexican border by the end of this year, it is confronting the sharpest resistance yet while conceding that physical barriers alone do not stop illegal crossings.

In the latest challenge, the Texas Border Coalition, an organization of mayors, county commissioners and economists opposed to the fence, filed a federal lawsuit on Friday. It says that the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, failed to conduct required negotiations with property owners and local authorities when he ordered that the barrier be built in Texas. The group wants the construction halted…

…Mr. Chertoff acknowledged in an interview that constructing physical barriers — as of last month, about 309 miles of fence had been built — is not the key to stopping illegal immigration, but he defended the fence’s usefulness.

“I don’t believe the fence is a cure-all,” Mr. Chertoff said. “Nor do I believe it is a waste. Yes, you can get over it; yes, you can get under it. But it is a useful tool that makes it more difficult for people to cross. It is one of a number of tools we have, and you’ve got to use all of the tools.”…

Opposition to the fence intensified last month after Mr. Chertoff used authority provided by Congress to waive more than two dozen environmental laws and others to push ahead with construction. Mr. Chertoff said his department needed to bypass the laws if it was to meet the goal set by Congress two years ago of completing at least 670 miles of fence by the end of this year.

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