LatinaLista — Earlier this week, Latina Lista reported that the Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of Secretary Michael Chertoff, was tired of going through the legal channels to satisfy Texas border residents who are fighting the intent to build a wall along the southern U.S.- Mexico border.
So to speed things up he has decided to forego a few laws (30 of them) to get things moving.
In a transcript of a roundtable discussion that Sec. Chertoff had with some bloggers yesterday, he admits that the law is just in his way.
Question: Can you give us an update how things stand with the fence? I know there was some big news yesterday.
Secretary Chertoff: Well, we’ve got about 310 miles built — about 170 of pedestrian fence and about 140 of vehicle fence. We’re on track — I want to get 670 miles done by the end of the calendar year, of which 370 will be pedestrian and 300 will be vehicle.
To do that, although we want to be respectful of the environment, we cannot afford to get enmeshed in the kinds of litigation that have traditionally caused projects to take decades to completeâ€¦
Unfortunately, that’s what working through our judicial system means. Look how many innocent men have sat on death row waiting to be exonerated because of all the litigation that had to be endured to reach a just conclusion?
Yet, that’s not the most disturbing item from this transcript.
Reading the transcript, which was released as a press release, and is only a partial transcript at that, not one blogger is identified.
The strangeness of this situation immediately waves red flags.
Before the government releases a bogus statement about protecting privacy, there exists something in the blogosphere that is an universal truth â€” no blogger wants to be anonymous, especially if they were lucky enough to score an interview with a high-profile individual like Chertoff.
Real bloggers would make that a headline post and it would have surely been “talked” about in the blogosphere. Strange that I ran across the item by accident doing a news seach on Chertoff.
Given the track record of this administration that sees nothing wrong in staging press conferences, I tend to believe that this may also have been the case – though I don’t have any proof but a lot of circumstantial evidence.
From the questions themselves, it shows these “bloggers” were not objective but almost seemed to be buddies with Chertoff.
There are a number of us who blog about the DHS exploits and yet, not one of us was invited or alerted to this roundtable discussion. Odd or maybe just a way for Chertoff to claim his department is reaching out but â€” not really.
If Chertoff and the DHS are serious about meeting with bloggers then they should contact those of us who have been blogging about what they do.
In this way, real questions will be asked because we’re still waiting for real answers.
>Originally, this post was going to be about a new effort the Texas border residents are undertaking to combat Chertoff’s waiver of those 30 laws and regulations. It is a letter that will be released tomorrow. I reproduce it below for your information. If you feel inclined to add your name, attach a comment to this post with name, city and organization you may be with, and I’ll forward it to the people organizing this effort so they may add your name:
April 4, 2008
The American People
U.S. Congressional Representatives
President George W. Bush
April 1, 2008 was the beginning of a very sad time for many of us here
on the border, in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and
throughout the U.S. The Bush administration issued two waivers on
April 1 that circumvent dozens of U.S. environmental and other laws to
pave the way for wall construction to begin immediately on the Texas
border, and to continue on the New Mexico, Arizona and California borders.
With such an action, spearheaded by DHS Secretary Chertoff, the
Federal Government shows a major failure to work and consult with
border communities on the wall issue. Clearly, Chertoff is flexing
his muscle upon the border residents. Instead of dialogue and
consultation we, at the border, will receive imposition and
We on the border know that a wall won’t work, and that it is not a
real solution. Many others know this also. We, the undersigned
individuals and organizations, are trying to educate the public and
elected officials about how the wall and militarization of the border
will profoundly impact the wildlife, the environment, our river and
the lives and rights of people on both sides of the border. The
executive branch of our government and the U.S. Congress, by their
actions, do not seem to care about any of that. But we believe that
Americans must realize before it is too late what their government is
doing in building an 18-foot-high barrier along sections of the
border, as well as in increasing the militarization of the border
We all now must endure an unimaginably difficult time during which our
nation’s fears are manifested in an ancient, ugly form — a wall Ã¢â‚¬”-
and manifested even more by increased militarization that vainly
attempts to close the border and limit the constitutional rights of
In China, Berlin, Israel, Palestine and Northern Ireland, WALLS DIDN’T
WORK. They definitely don’t work in the U.S. either. They,
primarily, decimate human rights and show intolerance and rejection.
They kill hundreds of people annually in the U.S. because they drive
people crossing the border to walk through more remote areas of desert
where many then die of dehydration and exposure.
After lessons are learned, most walls are taken down. Thereafter, the
wall builders are ridiculed, if they are acknowledged at all. Walls
have failed to keep people out (or in) but, however, have damaged both
human and riparian habitat permanently.
Everyone along the Texas border holds the Rio Grande very dear and a
very special place for many reasons. In New Mexico, California, and
Arizona, there are many special, even sacred, places along the border,
including wildlife refuges and tribal lands where a wall has already
been built, unbeknownst to most Americans. Many of us have lived,
farmed, and ranched along the border for generations. We urge the
American public to hold on to images of the border, its people, and
the environment as worth protecting, and to keep in mind that the wall
is temporary because it was born of a failed policy.
We the undersigned ask Americans not to let a wall divide our border
community. We remind Americans that the responsibility for this wall
rests on everyone. Even though the executive branch of the current
administration has exercised undue power to bring about the
construction, we the people must call, write and organize to stop the
wall. If it is built, we must demand that it be taken down. We ask
the American public to keep foremost in their minds the fact that the
border area encompasses one community that includes both sides.
By our actions and our words, we must hold to peace along the border
and we ask others’ help in that. Compassion, understanding and hope
must inform the struggle that is by necessity taking place on many
levels right now along the U.S.-Mexico border. We demand that our
border communities not be devastated by a wall and by militarization.
We will not remain silent as our country’s constitutionally-guaranteed
freedoms and even its laws are swept aside in the name of greed, fear
and anti-immigrant fervor under the guise of “improving national
security.” Our country was founded on Constitutional protections as
well as immigration, both of which are historically the very basis of
what makes us American.
Americans need to wake up to the fact that signs of tyranny and
imposition now exist in the United States of America, in the form of a
Cabinet member, Michael Chertoff, who is allowed to use his
legislatively-granted power to waive all U.S. law in order to
implement a failed anti-immigrant policy. That cannot be allowed to
go on any longer.
We the undersigned ask that Americans write their Congressional
Representatives as well as their President and demand that the impacts
of wall-building and militarization of the border be fully studied and
fully acknowledged, and that humane, wise and workable solutions be
found and implemented instead.
Fernando Garcia, Director, Border Network for Human Rights,
El Paso, Texas
Eve Trook, co-founder, No Wall – Big Bend Coalition and member,
Veterans for Peace, Alpine, Texas
Adrienne Evans, co-founder, No Wall – Big Bend Coalition,
Luissana Santibanez, immigrant rights activist, Grassroots
Leadership Austin, Austin, Texas
Iris Rodriguez, La Nueva Raza
C. Denby Swanson, writer, Austin, Texas
Joe Ely, musician/artist, Austin, Texas
Sharon Ely, artist, Austin, Texas
Alice Guynn, poet, Austin, Texas
Antonio Diaz, Spokesperson, Texas Indigenous Council, San
Ruben Solis, Spokesperson, Southwest Workers Union
Anne M. Goodwin, San Antonio, Texas
Peter and Sherry Dana, immigrant activists, Georgetown, Texas
Elizabeth H. Mealy, Ph.D., Georgetown, Texas
Scott Nicol, professor and co-founder, No Border Wall Coalition, and
member, Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club Group Executive
Committee, Weslaco, Texas
Stefanie Herweck, co-founder, No Border Wall Coalition, Weslaco,
Martin Hagne, Executive Director, Valley Nature Center, Weslaco,
E. Elizabeth Garcia, co-founder and spokesperson, CASA (Coalition
of Amigos in Solidarity and Action), Brownsville, Texas
Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr., Border Ambassador and Freedom
Ambassador, Del Rio, Texas
Sarah Boone, Border Ambassador and Freedom Ambassador, Del
Don Dowdey, Chair, Big Bend Regional Sierra Club, Alpine, Texas
Fran Sage, Member, Big Bend Regional Sierra Club, Alpine, Texas
Bill Guerra Addington, environmental activist, rancher, and
co-founder of Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund, and member, El
Paso Regional Group of the Sierra Club, Sierra Blanca, Texas
Heather McMurray, environmental activist, teacher, and member, El
Paso Regional Group of the Sierra Club, El Paso, Texas
Briana Stone, Director, Paso del Norte Civil Rights Project, El Paso,
Guillermo Glenn, Director, Asociacion de Trabajadores Fronterizos,
El Paso, Texas
Dr. Kathleen Staudt, Professor and community activist, El Paso,
Ruben Garcia, Director, Annunciation House, El Paso, Texas
Veronica Escobar, El Paso County Commissioner, Precinct 2, El Paso,
Jose Rodriguez, El Paso County Attorney, El Paso, Texas
Martha Ryan Stafford, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
Diane Walker, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
Kassi Williams, public school teacher, Terlingua, Texas
Butch Hancock, songwriter/artist, Terlingua, Texas
Joanne James, clergywoman, Terlingua, Texas
Sally Bergmann Cervenka, Terlingua, Texas
Mimi Webb Miller, Terlingua, Texas – Los Angeles CA
Allison K. Fullwood, artist, Terlingua, Texas
Gary Oliver, cartoonist, Marfa, Texas
Andrew Stuart, journalist, Marfa, Texas
Verena Zbinden, Marfa, Texas
Evelyn Luciani, citizen of Marfa, Texas
Eleanor Taylor, Ft. Davis, Texas
Jan Woodward, CFO, Woodward Ranch, Brewster County, Texas
Simone Swan, founder, Adobe Alliance, Presidio, Texas
Jesusita Jimenez, Project Manager, Adobe Alliance, Presidio, Texas
Mary Schwartze, mother of two and nature enthusiast, Alpine, Texas
Linda Shank Eller, mother, grandmother, CPA, Alpine, Texas
Redford Citizens Committee For Justice, Redford, Texas
The Rev. Melvin Walker La Follette, Redford, Texas
Barbara J. Baskin, Redford, Texas
Dallas Baxter, journalist, Alpine, Texas
Jerry Mitchell, contractor, Alpine, Texas
Hiram and Liz Sibley, Alpine, Texas
Rachel and Chris Sibley, Austin, Texas
Roger Siglin, Alpine, Texas
Susan Curry, citizen activist, Alpine, Texas
Tom Curry, artist/builder, Alpine, Texas
Dee Perkins, Alpine, Texas
Glen Perkins, builder, Alpine, Texas
Judy Ford, Alpine, Texas
Molly Walker, Alpine, Texas
Dr. Marilyn Dell Brady, Alpine, Texas
Karen Nakakihara, Alpine, Texas
James Wightman, Tax Consultant, Alpine, Texas
Patricia Manning, Environmental Science Technician, Alpine, Texas
Michael Stevens, guitar builder, Alpine, Texas
Alice Stevens, Plant Nursery owner, Alpine, Texas
Gaylan Corbin, Alpine, Texas
Amelie Urbanczyk, Alpine, Texas
Mary Ann Matteson, Alpine, Texas
Wendy Lynn Wright, artist, Casa Piedra, Texas
Mary Goodwin, Apple Valley, Minnesota
Maya Zniewski, mom, Minneapolis, Minnesota
D. A. Vickers, Media Credit Manager, Detroit, Michigan
Brian Cutean, human being, Portland, Oregon