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TX Border Schools Won’t “Share” Land with Department of Homeland Security

LatinaLista — Things are heating up along the South Texas border and it’s not because it’s spring.
Ever since Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, announced that his department was intent on seeing a physical barrier built along the Texas-Mexico border within a given time frame, he’s encountered one barrier after another in trying to get people to see things his way.
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Residents have been taking to the streets on a weekly basis to protest the federal government’s insistence that a physical barrier is what is needed to keep the country safe.
The latest group is the region’s school officials.
From college presidents to school superintendents, officials are facing the government in federal courts and giving a failing grade to the border fence.
And while school is in session in the federal courts of South Texas, another group took a petition to another court — the Supreme Court — to clarify once and for all Is Chertoff Above the Law?

Yesterday, the U.S. government dismissed their border fence condemnation lawsuit against the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB-TSC).
In return, the government is granted access to the campus for six months for surveying purposes but has to promise to explore alternatives “to a physical barrier” with the university and has to get permission from the school before they touch even one blade of grass on the campus.
Opponents to the wall see this as a major inroad because it is forcing the government to observe the laws that stipulate the government must interact in a meaningful dialogue with landowners before taking possession of their land.
In another school related intstance, Rio Grande City CISD Superintendent Roel Gonzalez took the witness stand to explain why his school district would not allow border agents on their campus to survey where a fence would go.
Gonzalez told the judge he was protecting his kids. However, the judge shot back that the fence “will make the children more secure.”

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Gonzalez said he did not buy that argument.
“We are kids business and if the fence is built I have to explain to the children what that is all about,” Gonzalez said.
“Many of the children come from Mexico and 99 percent are Hispanic. They have brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, living a mile away on the other side of where that fence will be. I understand the need for border security but it is really hard for me to explain to the children why there families are going to be fenced off.”

The general consensus of those living along the US-Mexico border is that the Department of Homeland Security is on a fast-track to get the fence up before the current President leaves office.
Yet, it seems there may be one more barrier for Chertoff to overcome.
The Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club sent a petition to the Supreme Court asking them to clarify just how much power Chertoff has.

WASHINGTON – Today, Defenders of Wildlife and The Sierra Club filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its argument that the REAL ID Act, which grants Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff unprecedented and sweeping authority to waive any and all laws to expedite the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, is unconstitutional besides being harmful to the environment and border communities. The two conservation groups charge that such unbounded authority to the executive branch is a violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers provisions.
“By granting one government official the absolute power to pick and choose which laws apply to border wall construction, the REAL ID Act proves itself to be both inherently dangerous and profoundly un-American. The issue here is not security vs. wildlife, but whether wildlife, sensitive environmental values and communities along the border will be given fair consideration in the decisions the government makes,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will take up this case in order to protect the fundamental separation of powers principles enshrined in the United States Constitution”

What is clear from all these cases is that the principle of a democratic free country is working. Otherwise, we’d have in South Texas the same as what is happening in Tibet.
It is right for people to question the arbitrary authority one person and/or one department assumes over others without concern for people’s civil or human rights because, as we all learned in school, that’s not the American way — not even if it’s done in the name of national security.

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  • Horace
    March 20, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Regardless of this wrangling, the Constitution grants the right of eminent domain to the federal government. If the Founding Fathers thoght that giving up property for the public good would always be easy, they would need the courts. From the beginning of the country citizens have protested these “takings” and have invariably lost. After due process, the negotiation of a fair price, the federal government will win, period. The law is clearly on the side of the federal government and to argue otherwise is futile discussion. Try checking your copy of the Constitution and case law, Marisa, and you won’t have to bother spending so much time with this issue.

  • Horace
    March 21, 2008 at 5:55 am

    There are lots of unpleasant facts of life for children to digest as they grow up, so this is just another. Maybe the shame of Mexico, its inability to provide for its citizens, should be told to these children. Maybe Mexico’s lie that it the land of milk and honey should get public exposure. Hiding it from children isn’t very ethical, is it? People like Gonzalez are just enablers of the status quo, white washing Mexico’s socioeconomic failure.
    Also, why are those Mexican kids attending a U.S. school. I hear from the news that there are schools on this side of the border that wind up teaching Mexicans at U.S. expense. Is it fair for them to go to school free and be a tax burden to the U.S. communities, while Mexico gets off scott free? Isn’t this unfair Mexican characteristic, foisting off their problems on U.S. taxpayers, exactly why Americans object to illegal immigration? What brass Gonzalez has in openly admitting that these people are illegally attending U.S. schools. Does he think that such admissions endear his cause to the American people?

  • Texano78704
    March 21, 2008 at 9:09 am

    The statement by superintendent Roel Gonzalez demonstrates why a lot of people, who do not live in any of the border states, just do not get it.

  • Jax
    March 21, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Using the “Right of Eminent Domain” the government can take property whenever it deems it to be in the public interest.

  • Frank
    March 21, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Texano, what is there to get? Irregardless of those living in the border states we are all still American citizens and bound by the same rules and laws.

  • Horace
    March 22, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Mr. Gonzalez should take up his complaint with those on the other side of the fence, because it is with Mexicans who disregard our national sovereignty, not the federal government that the fault lies. If I live in a neigborhood where my neigbor disrespects my property, and all efforts at diplomacy have failed, my only choice is to take unilateral action such as erecting a fence or moving away. Obviously, our nation can’t move away, as much as we may like to, so we have no choice. Mexico had its chance. It could have corrected their socioeconomic problems and avoided the fence. In failing to do so, they’ve lost the respect of most Americans and precipated the culture clash caused by the illegal migration of millions of their nationals, and our current action. The Mexican government doesn’t like the fence because it publicizes and challenges their utter incompetence at doing one of the fundamental functions of a democratically elected government, providing for its people.
    As far as the people on the border are concerned, a fence is an unfortunate inconvenience. For the Mexican parents who illicitly transfer the cost of educating their children to the people of the U.S., and others who cross the border to use our medical facilities as free primary health care providers, I say tough luck. Those are the responsibility of the Mexican government. Perhaps there will be a commnensurate decrease in taxes for the communities in question. Regardless, people will get over it.
    We’ve seen the Mexican government’s strict prideful control over its national sovereignty to the irrational exclusion of outside investment in their oil industry and to the demand that we put no conditions of our foreign aide. Yet, there seems to be no shame to the great migration. Instead, they turn the tables on us and tell us that we need them and that we must take their nationals as guest workers, to the point of establish consulates which aid and abet this insult to our national sovereignty. By the way, I’ve never heard one objection to this from a Hispanic commenter in this blog.

  • Evelyn
    March 30, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Well of course it is Horace. Lets just ignore the thousands of Americans like you who like the services and products the immigrants bring you at affordable prices.
    Lets also ignore the thousands of Americans who offer them jobs and lets also ignore the gov. officials who chose to let them enter.
    Lets just put all the blame on the immigrants…..because they are Mexicans? Yup just the Mexican immigrants. All their fault. Gosh that sounds overly racist, but of course you wouldn’t think so. ROTFLMAO

  • Frank
    March 30, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    No one is just blaming illegal aliens for this illegal immigration mess we are in. The blame is threefold, our government, the employers and the illegals themselves. Someone really needs to research the costs vs benefits of cheap illegal labor in this country because it isn’t as cheap as one would think when you weigh all the factors involved.
    This isn’t about just Mexican illegal aliens it is about all illegal aliens.

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