LatinaLista — Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) delivered their second round of border wall lawsuits against Rio Grande Valley landowners who refuse to voluntarily hand their properties over so that the border fence can be built on them.
Eloisa Tamez stands on the 1930s levee that split her family land in two. She is resisting the construction of a border fence that will further divide the land on which her family has been living since the 1780s.
(Source: G. Daniel Lopez/The Brownsville Herald)
In total, 33 lawsuits have been filed by the DHS against South Texas landowners, some whose land has been in their families since the 1700s. According to sources in the Valley, some of the people who were named by the government in today’s round of lawsuits didn’t even know they were being sued by the government.
So much for communication, but what do we expect from a federal agency that has been caught in one of the biggest lies when it comes to the whole concept of listening and sharing.
It all started when DHS told the Texas Border Coalition earlier this month that there would be no more meetings with the group about the fence. The Coalition responded by writing a letter and repeating their proposal for more local community input about the construction process.
The DHS said no.
Then Chad Foster, Texas Border Coalition chairman, reminded the agency that to reject his coalition’s proposal would be in direct violation of a provision written into the Omnibus Appropriations Bill authored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-TX, and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, which requires the DHS to consult with local governments and communities located near the sites where the border fence will be built.
If the DHS doesn’t do this then the law says that funds won’t be released for the fencing, infrastructure and technology, until DHS proves they’ve complied.
The DHS immediately went on the defensive and said they complied by holding 18 town hall meetings gathering community input.
However, when the online news site, the Rio Grande Guardian, pressed DHS to show proof of those town hall meetings, DHS officials were forced to confess that none of the town hall meetings took place in the Rio Grande Valley (site of the staunchest resistance to the fence) and that the majority of those so-called town hall meetings were actually “briefings” held at border patrol stations.
As Del Rio Mayor Efrain Valdez told the Rio Grande Guardian, â€œWe have learned that we canâ€™t trust Michael Chertoff. He will say one thing and do another. When he has met with the Texas Border Coalition, he has said one thing to our face and done something else behind our back. I donâ€™t trust him anymore.â€
Isn’t that a fine commentary on the federal government or is it just par for the course from an administration that forgot that the Preamble of the US Constitution reads:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Somehow substituting “We the government” just doesn’t have the same (Liberty) ring to it.