Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Government > Small Border Newspaper Catches Department of Homeland Security in a Big Lie

Small Border Newspaper Catches Department of Homeland Security in a Big Lie

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, “We have learned that we can’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 don’t trust him anymore.”
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.

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  • Frank
    January 31, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    What about the fact that our government hasn’t protected us from an illegal invasion by not securing our borders as they are sworn to do? No concern about that?

  • Jax
    January 31, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    The Department of Homeland Security is charged by the U.S. government with the responsibility of protecting our borders.
    It seems to me that they are trying to do their job and I wish them well.

  • Evelyn
    February 1, 2008 at 2:56 am

    The only illegal invasion of these lands occurred before you were born. Why don’t you try keeping yourself within the realm of reality and TRUTH.

  • Melinda Taylor
    February 1, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Great post! I live on the border and people north of San Antonio seem to be for the wall but they don’t understand that if it’s built it will become a dam of death when we have a hurricane and we will become the 10th ward! There is so much wrong with this fence I can’t go into it all here. People only want this fence if it’s not going in their own back yard! It’s not the answer and your tax dollars will just be wasted if it’s built.

  • Evelyn
    February 1, 2008 at 10:11 am

    I am much more concerned about the lies you seem adamant about spreading. So I decided to use this “polite” response to keep you from whining about mine.
    War and Invasion
    It is increasingly common for mainstream commentators to refer to the current immigration phenomenon as a “war” in which the U.S. is being “invaded.”
    For example, frequent television commentator Pat Buchanan said on Fox news recently:
    “You’ve got a wholesale invasion, the greatest invasion in human history, coming across your southern border, changing the composition and character of your country.”
    The widespread use of RHETORIC and language associated with war, invasion, or conquest has similarly adverse consequences. Ultimately, it serves to justify virtually any policy or individual action carried out in the name of fighting illegal immigration, since a country at war typically suspends many of its traditional rights and protections in the name of protecting its existence.
    This rationale is invoked to justify actions – such as racial profiling and other civil rights violations, separation of families, and punishment of innocent children for the action of their parents – that in “peace time” would at least be considered subjects appropriate for careful, deliberate public debate. “Invasion” RHETORIC provides an implicit societal imprimatur for racial or nativist appeals and is even cited by many convicted of hate crimes to justify their actions. In the face of government inaction on policy front, this RHETORIC also encourages vigilantism.
    One of Lou Dobbs’ correspondents, for example referred to a U.S. visit by Mexico’s than-President Vicente Fox as a “Mexican military incursion.”
    Consider this from CNN’s Jack Cafferty in response to the peaceful 2006 pro-immigrant rallies, which included hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens and legal residents:
    Taxpayers who have surrendered highways, parks, sidewalks and a lot of television news time to alot of these MOBS of Illegal Aliens are not happy about it……. America’s Illegal aliens are becoming even bolder. March through our streets and demand your rights. Excuse me? You have no rights here, and that includes the right to tie up our towns, and cities and block our streets. At some point this could all turn very violent as Americans become fed up with the failure of their government to address the most pressing domestic issue of our time.
    Well I hate to be the one to point out Kafferty’s Ignorance, but someone has to do it. The first amendment gives us the right to “Advocate for Change” and that includes marching in the streets if we see fit! How can you be so stupid!

  • Frank
    February 1, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Try telling that to the U.S. government instead of demonizing American citizens who were born here and never lived anywhere else.

    February 1, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Sorry, that’s the way it was several hundred years ago when invaders from all over the world, including Spanish invaders, came to this continent to conquer and declare ownership of land in the name of their mother country. So, get over it because your arguement is getting old , boring and down right irrelevant. That is the realm of reality you seem to be failing to connect with. Those of us today had nothing to do with those invading conquerers that were not violating any immigration laws since no such thing existed at that time. Today we have established borders and strict laws meant to prevent illegal invasion of our nation. That is also reality and the truth. Find a more viable arguement than what was done by our ancestors, yours and mine.

  • Horace
    February 3, 2008 at 8:37 am

    “The first amendment gives us the right to “Advocate for Change” and that includes marching in the streets if we see fit! How can you be so stupid!”
    Yeah, we give a lot of credence to people who violate our laws and march in the streets to make their acts innocent. Well, it hasn’t worked. Just as the people have shown contempt for KKK marches, illegal immigrants have only received the scorn of our citizens. Keep it up Evelyn, and march all you want, but Americans don’t see this as a rights issue, but as a thumb in the eye to their sovereign right to control their borders. Evelyn, how can you and your friends be so stupid?

  • David O.
    February 5, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I see the nativists are still at it with the same old mantra. So how many people from the other side have you brought over to your side? Not me that’s for sure.
    Thanks Marisa for an interesting article.

  • Frank
    February 6, 2008 at 7:58 am

    All countries and their citizens are nativist in nature. That is what makes each country unique in the way of their identity and culture.

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