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New Revelations about Texas-Mexico Border Fence Detail Interesting Land Selection Process

LatinaLista — Past responses to stories posted on Latina Lista regarding the fight South Texans are putting up against the Department of Homeland Security in building the congressionally appropriated border fence have not always been kind to the residents.
Some people can’t understand why simple landowners, who have had their property in their family since a King of Spain deeded it to their ancestors and have little else of value, wouldn’t want to willingly donate it to the government for the sake of border security.

Father and son peer through a portion of the US/Mexico border fence.

Well, now comes an interesting revelation that shows just how much big business and big money are more than contributing factors in determining where the border fence goes.
One hint: It’s not going through the properties of those who can most afford to lose a chunk of land.

In an article titled “Holes in the Wall” by reporter Melissa Del Bosque of The Texas Observer, the reporter poses a simple question to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (and one that has been asked repeatedly by the Texas Border Coalition) how was the land chosen as to where the fence would be built?
Sounds like a reasonable question and one that should have ready answers with blueprints to illustrate the decisions and even a press release to go along with it, but, surprise, surprise — no.

Sharyland, a Texas Valley land development created by billionaire Ray Hunt untouched by border fence construction.
Everyone wants to know why it’s so imperative to border security to knock down the house of 76-year-old Daniel Garza, along with, a small, yellow house he gave his son, to build a fence that stops just a few yards beyond his property at the point where land owned by Dallas billionaire Ray Hunt begins.
Or why the family-inherited land of 72-year-old Eloisa Tamez must be sacrificed while the nearby River Bend Resort and golf course are left unscathed. Or why several small, cash-strapped towns are targets of a fence that just won’t disrupt lives but what little economic partnership these towns have with their neighbors.
After numerous calls to various acronym-titled departments within the Department of Homeland Security, the reporter found that no one wanted to answer her question or knew enough to answer it. So, this resourceful journalist called up Congress.
After calling six congressional offices, she finally found a GOP staffer who was able to direct her to the real person in charge of the border fence. Surprisingly, it’s not Michael Chertoff but Greg Giddens of the Secure Border Initiative Office housed in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office.

Giddens is executive director of the SBI, as it is called, which is in charge of SBInet, a consortium of private contractors led by Boeing Co. The group received a multibillion dollar contract in 2006 to secure the northern and southern borders with a network of vehicle barriers, fencing, and surveillance systems. Companies Boeing chose to secure the southern border from terrorists include DRS Technologies Inc., Kollsman Inc., L-3 Communications Inc., Perot Systems Corp., and a unit of Unisys Corp.

In a scenario that scarily resembles the deal the government made with Halliburton for Iraq, the lives of everyday Texans for whom their land is all they literally have, are being treated callously in favor of big companies out to make a profit and wealthy land investors who also happen to be big political contributors.
When Giddens was pressed as to the reasoning for the placement of the fence, he referred the inquiry to a Loren Flossman, his man in charge of tactical infrastructure. When the journalist asked FLossman about why certain areas were targeted for the fence and not others, Flossman reply was:

all data regarding the placement of the fence is classified because “you don’t want to tell the very people you’re trying to keep from coming across the methodology used to deter them.”

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense — to someone who obviously doesn’t know the answer himself.
What was the icing on the cake though was a remark that Flossman said in explaining why the University of Texas at Brownsville was targeted with a fence cutting through the middle of their campus. They obviously have undocumented immigrants who dress up like students and try to blend in with the student population on their way north — no doubt.
It was news to the campus police department who said they’ve never run across undocumented immigrants dressed as students.
The article is a good read and highlights the tangled corporate web of businesses that have so embedded themselves with this administration.
Because these Texas landowners aren’t going to give up their land without a fight, it’s thrown a wrench in the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to have the fencing all finished before the next President takes office.
There’s good indication that whoever assumes office next won’t be so willing to give the DHS a blank check in partnering with businesses and privileged individuals.
Yet, the question that really needs to be asked is: Why wait until next year to haul in a government agency that is enjoying little oversight and has redefined government bullying?

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  • yave begnet
    February 18, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Shady, very shady. But I wouldn’t expect anything else from this nominally pro-migrant president.
    “you don’t want to tell the very people you’re trying to keep from coming across the methodology used to deter them.”
    This seems to fit the pattern. Can’t disclose torture techniques because then the terr’ists will know how to resist them; can’t tell Iraqis when Dear Leader is coming to visit because they will be so overcome with gratitude they’ll try to kill him; can’t tell applicants for marriage-based green cards why their cases are being denied because then the government would have to explain inexplicable decisions.
    the question that really needs to be asked is: Why wait until next year to haul in a government agency that is enjoying little oversight and has redefined government bullying?
    Who would rein them in? Certainly not the president. Right now the most we can hope for is favorable court decisions as even conservative jurists push back against executive branch lunacy.

  • Frank
    February 19, 2008 at 7:47 am

    I would leave it up to the experts who have drawn up the plans for the fence placement. It is possible that a ittle payola and favoritism was involved but what we should all be happy about is that we will have a much needed physical barrier to help secure the border.
    How would law enforcement know whether or not illegal aliens are dressing up like students and trying to pass themselves off as students to gain entry into our country? They aren’t allowed to ask, remember?

  • Evelyn
    February 19, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    It’s not just the fence. The abuse and mistreatment of immigrants and American citizens by ICE(U.S. immigration officials) is a very serious issue. Non of the articles posted on another thread, (by the racists) trying to prove Mexican immigration officials mistreated immigrants, pointed to anything compared to these abuses by ICE and Homeland IN-security, here in the U.S..
    Immigration Raids Trample the Constitution Without Securing the Nation
    Baby Held In Locked Room AT Airport BY Immigration Officials, Dies
    More than 62 People Have Died in Detention Center Run by ICE
    This is just the tip of the iceberg, in exposing the horrific and inhumane conditions prevailing at ICE detention centers.
    ICE Drugging Detainees Set For Deportation
    Hutto Detention Center for Immigrant Families Americas Shame “It’s a gulag right here in America.”
    Indigenous People Vow To Bring Down Apartheid Border Wall
    The Wall of Shame
    U.S. Citizen Deported By ICE
    Spent 3 mo. lost in Tijuana, mother frantically looking for him.
    ICE, Detaining And Deporting American Citizens
    Unlike suspects charged with crimes, detainees accused of immigration violations don’t have a right to an attorney.
    As an American, I think we can do better than this. I don’t like it when my country is full of racists and bigots who love this type of abuse. I can almost picture them salivating while reading these articles, with a smile on their faces. How sad, how sick that people like this exist.

  • Frank
    February 20, 2008 at 8:22 am

    The topic in this article is the fence and that is what I responded too.
    Any problems with ICE or the detention centers are a seperate issue I didn’t recognize most of the sources that wrote those articles about ICE and the detention centers. Of course it is possible that there is “some” abuse that goes on and most Americans opposed to illegal immigration wouldn’t be salivating over that. Most Americans for the rule of law are not bigots or racists either.
    If we secure our borders in every way possible and make it mandatory for the employers to check the validity of their employees, the illegals will leave and securing our borders will deter most from coming anymore. Thus no more abuse of the illegals, our citizens or our laws.
    We need to look at what our labor needs actually are and make sure that all immigrants come here legally.

  • laura
    February 20, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Evelyn, you are right. Families’ homes are being invaded in early morning hours without warrants, and parents are taken away from their children, by ICE. This happens every day in the US.
    Yes, racism is the basis for this.
    I am sickened and saddened when I think of these thousands of families.
    Moreover, now that early morning raids on residences have become normal in the US, just like large-scale detention of people who have committed no crime – and are not even suspected of a crime – has become normal, we are on a very slippery slope. This can easily be extended to Americans who disagree with whatever government is in power.
    It has already been extended to Americans who have the wrong skin color – as your examples show.
    ICE has become a rogue agency. If there is any doubt left in anyone’s mind: look at the pictures of the director of ICE posing beside an agent dressed up for Halloween 2007 in a striped prisoner’s costume, in blackface and in a dreadlock wig.

  • Frank
    February 21, 2008 at 7:54 am

    So ICE is a racist agency? Oh, please!
    Those who have been detained have violated our immigration laws. No more catch and release as they never show up for their hearings. If we just deported them ASAP which is what we should do instead of footing the bill for their incarceration, the illegal alien sympathizers would still be complaining that they were deported without due process. We can’t win no matter how we try to enforce our immigration laws because bottom line is there are citizens out there that have a sinister agenda all their own.

  • Evelyn
    February 21, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    No one here stated that ICE was a racist agency. The clam is they are BREAKING THE LAW!!!
    Do some homework before putting your foot in your mouth.
    Those at Hutto are people who have come here LEGALLY seeking asylum. Most are not Mexican.
    ICE violates it’s duty to meet the minimum standards and conditions for the housing and release of all minors in federal immigration costody.
    If you truly believed in “rule of law” you would be outraged by what ICE is doing. By condoning this type of brutality, knowing it is in violation of the “rule of law,” that makes you a HYPOCRITE!

  • Frank
    February 21, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Ahem, laura just claimed in her statement above that the raids by ICE are based on RACISM! Guess you didn’t read her post?
    If there are people in Hutto who came here legally in keeping with our asylum laws, then why are they in there?
    ICE is a government entity. They have to be in compliance with our laws otherwise those individuals would be fired. If someone can present undisputable proof that they aren’t then they should take it up with our government. Hearsay doesn’t count.
    How can I be outraged about something that hasn’t been proven in a court of law? If proven, I will be outraged. I don’t condone brutality. I don’t go by unproven accusations or people’s opinions. Can’t you ever debate without making negative assumptions about others and pulling the race card at every turn?

  • Evelyn
    February 22, 2008 at 4:21 am

    Laura was right!
    I will be the first to say I was wrong. I did not know about the costume incident.
    The fact that an attorney from the ACLUs Racial Justice Program is defending some of these people and children, does convince me that ICE is a racist agency.
    Now it makes me even more embarrassed to be an American. I cant believe we have fallen so low, just to apease the BIGOTS in this country.

  • Frank
    February 22, 2008 at 9:30 am

    The ACLU or any other law agency represting a plaintiff in a court of law does not make the accused already guilty or convicted. You do know that, don’t you?
    The ACLU has long gone by the wayside of defending one person’s rights while at the same time denying another’s rights. Sorry, but that is just my OPINION.
    You are plainly biased and misinformed about what constitutes a bigot. A bigot isn’t one who wants our immigration laws enforced against all illegal aliens. ICE doesn’t have a bigoted agenda either. To suggest that our government or this country is somehow bigoted is ridiculous. We allow in one million legal immigrants a year into this country and from all over the world.

  • laura
    February 22, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Yes Evelyn and Frank – racism is a driving force of ICE raids, ICE policy, and ICE behavior. ICE is a rogue agency at this point.
    I saw the Halloween 2007 pictures of the white ICE staff member, in a black-and-white-striped prisoner’s uniform, wearing blackface and a dreadlock wig, on the CNN website. The director of ICE gave this costume a prize for “most original” at their Halloween party.
    The ICE policy upon which the warrantless raids of family homes in pre-dawn hours are based, is called “Operation Return to Sender.” As if undocumented immigrants were not human beings, but pieces of mail.
    Dehumanizing a person is the basic principle of racism. It enables the racist to hurt that person, violently and verbally, which the racist could not justify to themself if they thought of their victim as a human being.
    ICE is permeated with racism and their policy is founded on racism. Look at the pictures.

  • Frank
    February 22, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Please tell me how ICE is bigoted and I assume you mean just against Latinos illegally in this country. For one thing our government has been looking the other way while mostly Latinos have been crossing our border illegally for the past 20 years or so. So in view of that, why would ICE be bigoted against illegal Latinos?
    So one ICE agent dressed up in a way you found offensive on Halloween and that makes the whole ICE Agency, bigoted? I don’t know of many Latinos that wear dredlocks anyway.
    How do you know that ICE doesn’t have warrants when they enter someone’s house? Do you have proof of that? Is ICE even required to have one?
    Oh, please “return to sender” just means returning illegal aliens to their homelands. It has nothing to do with the mail. You people sure like to twist and spin everything, don’t you?
    Everything is racist to you people too. Do you also think that the treatment of citizen criminals is “dehumanizing” too? None of this illegal immigration issue is based on racism on the part of law abiding citizens and law enforcement. You people are truly pathetic!

  • Evelyn
    February 23, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Your racists views are Crystal clear. racists are not “Law Abiding Citizens.” Racism goes against the grain of our Constitution. Racists are unpatriotic. They are the people who should be DEPORTED! You are pathetic and a disgrace to mankind.

  • Frank
    February 23, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Go find a racist to bitch to then. You are barking up the wrong tree with me and these personal insults of yours about me are going to stop, right now!
    Marisa, be forewarned that I am not going to take her vile crap anymore. You obviously don’t want a civil forum. Ok, I will be glad to accomodate you. I intend to defend myself from now on and hurl the insults right back at this despicable piece of trash.

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