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Taking Texas And The Nation Back

Texas Anger Swells Over Plans for Fence

Posted by nytexan on June 22, 2007

The idea of building a fence across the U.S. Mexico border is a sickening and a destructive non-solution to Texans. In Texas the fence will have an impact on endangered species, wildlife, small business, trade and families.

For those who have never been to the Texas Mexico border or the Rio Grande, you most likely think it’s a desolate waste land with no value. Therefore, the idea of a fence means nothing and its only impact will be to keep Mexicans out. You are very wrong, my friend. Let’s look at what the Texas border really is; the people who live and own property and how they feel about the fence that all of you so desperately want.

By the way the Rio Grande is the border and the fence isn’t going in the Rio Grande, its going on private land which will cut off access to the lake and the Rio Grande. Businesses will suffer.

Pictures at the end of the post are the areas and business that will suffer.

Generational Family Land:

ROMA, Tex. — Since 1767, some 150 acres of wooded riverfront along the Rio Grande has belonged to the family of Cecilia Ramirez Benavides, land granted to her ancestors by Spanish settlers who colonized Mexico, or New Spain, as it was then known.

Generations later, much of the Ramirez tract, with its mile of riverbank, remains undisturbed, overrun by huge mesquite and ebony trees, thick clusters of prickly pear cactus and chaparral. It is inhabited by the endangered ocelot — only 100 are believed to remain in the United States — the bright-orange Altamira oriole with its distinctive whistle and huge, pouchlike woven nests, and the green jay, with its bright-blue nape.

Already, the modern world has intruded on this privately owned mini-nature preserve. Cecilia Benavides and her husband, Noel Benavides Sr., have given the Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Guard permanent access to their land to apprehend illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.

“They’re going to destroy an ecosystem that took centuries and that’s never going to come back,” said Noel Benavides, an alderman in this small border city.

But the Department of Homeland Security’s latest entreaty is where the couple have decided they must draw the line. Their tranquil piece of riverfront — owned by the Ramirez clan long before northern Mexico became Texas — lies directly in the path of the federal government’s plan to build 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Texas will get 153 miles of fence; Arizona, 129 miles; California, 76 miles; and New Mexico, 12. A map of the proposed fencing was attached to the memo.

The documents sparked an outcry from border officials from El Paso down to Brownsville, as well as from farmers who plant vegetables, cotton and grain in the rich alluvium along the banks of the Rio Grande. Border businessmen who depend on Mexicans for a majority of their retail sales and private landowners, such as the Benavideses, were outraged, too.

For many, the Rio Grande may only conjure up television images of illegal immigrants swimming or tubing the river from Mexico to Texas. But in South Texas, the river is the source for municipal water systems and farm irrigation districts and of recreation. It is a natural boundary between two regions whose history, families and commerce are intricately connected.

Agriculture and Business:

Richard Drawe is not only concerned about his water rights and access to the land he farms on the banks of the Rio Grande. He’s also worried about the prospect of the federal government appropriating his land for a fence under eminent domain.

Drawe’s family has been farming the area since 1917, and today he grows grain sorghum, cotton and vegetables on 1,400 acres. The fence, as proposed, would cut Drawe’s farmland in half.

“All the land south of the fence would be unusable. We would be cut off from our land, plain and simple,” said Drawe, who supports the addition of Border Patrol agents and the high-tech surveillance towers. “For somebody that’s outside South Texas, it sounds like a great idea to have a fence. You have to have controlled borders, I know that. But there’s other ways to do it.”

Business and Ecomony:

Farming and drinking water are not the only water issues that will have an economic impact it will also affect Lake Amistad in Del Rio. Lake Amistad has marinas and small businesses that support them. Amistad is an international recreation area on the United States-Mexico border. The Amistad Reservoir on the Rio Grande includes 850 miles of Lake Shoreline, of which 540 are in Texas. Boating and water sports highlight activities in the U.S. section of the reservoir. In addition, the area is rich in archeology and rock art, and contains a wide variety of plant and animal life.

The Rio Grande also has water rafting, competition and recreational fishing, bed and breakfasts, horse back riding excursions and much more. All of these companies and small mom and pop business will shut down.

Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, who said he crosses the bridge daily to Piedras Negras, the Mexican city across the Rio Grande, said the lawmakers “that voted for this fence have never seen the reality of the border” and seen “the relationship that we have with our neighbors.”

In Texas families that live on both sides and visit weekly, daily, on birthday and holidays. You don’t think the fence will affect these families. Think of it this way; you live in N.Y.C. and your parents live in Newark, N.J., you can’t go see them because there is a fence and Homeland Security requires documents so you can have dinner with your parents. Have you thought about this; probably not.

Did you know that there are many employee of U.S. companies that cross the border every day to go to work and then cross to go home. No, they are not all Mexicans many Americans live across the border because it’s cheaper. This will this affect their employment and the business that depend on them. Have you thought about this; probably not.

The Environment:

The environmental groups that oversee a corridor of 182,000 acres of wildlife refuge along or near the river — a top birding destination whose devotees infuse the deep South Texas economy with an estimated $150 million yearly — said the region is now under threat.

For two decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has spent $80 million buying property along the Rio Grande, replanting the land with native vegetation to attract animals and birds and to create the wildlife corrider. That effort, environmentalists say, is now directly threatened.

“Fencing in general creates problems for wildlife,” said Nancy Brown, a spokeswoman for the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Alamo. “This wildlife corrider is a string of pearls [that has] 20 federally listed threatened and endangered species. This adds one more layer of difficulty.”

Many Texans, myself included, find the whole idea of the fence a destruction to families, businesses, the environment and our way of life. If the rest of the country who so desperately wants a fence, I suggest that Texas erect the fence on its northern and western border. Then Texas won’t have to suffer the consequences of misguided and uniformed information or the hatred to our neighbors that the rest of the country has.

How do you put a fence here without destroying Texas? You thought this was a desert we’re talking about. I’m not surprised at your main stream media awareness or lack thereof of our state.

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Marina Lake Amistad in Del Rio

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Border bridges: Laredo, Texas, on the right, is the nation’s busiest inland port.

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13 Responses to “Texas Anger Swells Over Plans for Fence”

  1. nytexan:

    Excuse me, but is it “hatred of our neighbors to the south” or a desire to enforce our laws and have an orderly society? Since you are advocating a policy “neighborliness”, why not practice what you preach? I presume that you own a house (or apartment, condominium, or similar) and perhaps a vehicle. So, leave them unlocked! Allow your neighbors to come into and leave your home and automobile and avail themselves of whatever they want whenever they feel like it. Let them come sleep in your bed, cook your food on your stove and eat it on your dishes on your table. Let them wash themselves in your shower or bathtub. Better yet, them them take showers and baths with any wife and/or kids that you might have, especially when you are not home! Now, is your insistence on locking your house and car “hatred”, especially of the poor and minorities? Is it failing to understand the policies of big business and government that created a whole class of people who would see eating your Frosted Flakes with your silverware while watching your television (and then taking the cereal, silverware, and TV home with them when they are done if they so choose)? Or is it a desire to protect and defend your legitimate interests? And incidentally, I am willing to hazard a guess that there are as many people living near the border in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, etc. that are every bit as outraged over the problems caused by the illegal immigrants waltzing through their property as there are about the eco – system. And yes, this activity has disrupted plenty of businesses and caused them to either have to shut down or move. Funny how no mention of that made it in your article. And the same media that you speak of RARELY talks to actual people who are dealing with the thousands of people sneaking into the country through their backyard. They would rather show you the “minutemen”, the “border militia”, and people like that so they can discredit the view of anyone who feels that if we have laws, then we should enforce them! Now if you want to change the laws and open the border, fine. Advocate for that. Open the border, and at least we could make things more orderly and protect the security of both the immigrants and the border residents, because then the law – abiding immigrants would naturally enter at safe, legal, government – maintained checkpoints, it would put those coyotes out of business, and we could concentrate our efforts on the drug smugglers, human traffickers, and other criminals that would naturally avoid the government checkpoints (while the criminals are the ones causing the most trouble for border residents in Texas and elsewhere, the “hard working law abiding illegal” immigrants cause them plenty of problems too). But none of you are advocating the legal moral position of opening the border, are you? Instead, you advocate the illegal immorality of claiming to have a border when you do not. Instead of calling people who feel that if they have to obey the law and respect order that everyone else should too “racist”, either A) advocate opening the border or B) expose your true motivation for allowing large scale lawbreaking and chaos. And if B) is your route, don’t stop at illegal immigration. Why not provide for me a list of laws that you feel that people have the right to break, and who has the right to break them, and then provide for me your list of laws that should be obeyed by all people at all times, and of people who have to obey all laws at all times. And then I will do the same! As a matter of fact, since you have started it out by claiming that “our neighbor to the south” do not have to obey our immigration laws, then it is my turn to pick a law that we should start violating on a massive scale. And I pick ROE VERSUS WADE! And the group of people that it does not apply to? BLONDE HAIRED BLUE EYED SOUTHERN RIGHT WING EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS! All right pro – life Nordic Christian soldiers, onward to all of our abortion clinics! You are free to blockade them, shut them down, and intimidate and harass the doctors, nurses, counselors, and whatever women that come in to seek their services! And you have absolutely no fear of reprisal, because using the principle established by our “neighbors to the south”, taking action against you to enforce our laws would amount to discrimination based on race and religion! (Do not pretend that these people are not minorities; they make up at most 25% of the population.) Open the border or shut it down. Anything other than those two options are illegal and immoral.

  2. nytexan said

    Heartland:
    Thank for your comment. I am not advocating nor is any other Texan advocating that illegal immigration should not be stopped.What is being said is that the fence will destroy business,etc. on the border.

    Texas is very pro-active on border security as stated at the beigning of the article. There is constant boarder patrol and video surveillance. Texas has also partnered with Mexico’s border towns on drug trafficking, human smuggling.

    By the way the Minutemen that you mentioned are not appreciated in most Texas areas. Yes, they do have a Texas division by they are strongly opposed.

    Texas border is economically tied to Mexico. Businesses along the boarder depend on tourist,if their business is fenced they are shut down. Farmers and ranchers will be losing their land for the fence to be built, which will cost them their crops and cattle sales. The Texas economy will be strongly effected by this.

  3. mirth said

    So Heathland, you’re really into the teachings of Jesus, I see. Good on ya. Can’t have enuf of that brotherly love.

    Amazing beauty, nytexan, and great information. Maybe Texans can paint some pretty pictures on the wall. That’s working really well for the Palestinians.

  4. nytexan said

    Mitrh:
    Picture of what use to be. I have seen the Palestinian painting and it’s a sad statement to what humanity is becoming or is.

    Regarding heartland, I find it interesting that his/her blog is a Christian blog and yet there is not much Christian thought in their comments. I’m sure Texas family on the border will pass on those Christian teachings.

  5. D-day said

    Great post Nytexan. It takes me back to my early life near the border.

    I see you got yourself an interesting visitor….Lucky you! 🙂

    I wonder what the logic is behind the thinking that a fence will be a detterent. I’ve hopped many in my day. Swam more than a few rivers too. A fence is just another one of those “feel good” projects that won’t have any effect whatsoever.

  6. nytexan said

    D-day:
    Glad you enjoyed the post and it took you back in time. What part of the border did you live.

    Interesting visitor indeed.

    I really hope Texas can come up with another plan.

  7. A fence is simply not the answer. It just isn’t practical. It is more a waste of money, than anything else. Kind of an empty gesture of the look at what we are doing variety , while really doing nothing at all. We need a safer border of all concerned of course. But to destroy the land is not the answer, those pictures are beautiful. And who benefits from a fence really? Does it help the border patrol ? Does it help residents on either side..no not really. The Corporations will find a way to exploit this be assured -pitting worker against worker. Lets make the government train and hire more Border Patrol agents. Lets continue to better enforce laws already on the books that are based on family unification.

    And above all lets be humane with concerned. People this is the new wedge issue…we must not have knee jerk reactions, and truly remember what this country was founded on, Abundance and generosity. They Politicains are “playing” us all..while they get away with murder here and in Iraq. Truly the only thing we do have to fear, is fear itself. And mass media markets fear all to well. Again the only people that benefit are the Oligarchs.

  8. nytexan said

    ProudProgressive:
    Thank you. You are so right about the new wedge issue. It’s pretty obvious that this will destroy the whole Rio Grande border. Case in point this is one of Bush’s bright ideas and we see how well his plans have worked over the last 6+ years.

    I am very pleased that the anger of so many Texans, especially the ranchers and farmers, is finally hitting the MSM. The pictures in the post are but a few. The ares around Big Bend has mountains and canyons on both sides of the river and they will put a fence. Imagine the Grand Canyon having a fence around it.

  9. expatbrian said

    I’m glad to see someone has finally posted on this issue and a great post it is. I am not a texan. Only been there once, for a year at Ft. Hood in the army and for that reason only it was not a great experience.

    Healthland obviously can’t read and doesn’t have a clue what the real issues are and what you were trying to say. I do love your alternative view to put the fence on the between texas and your neighbors so they don’t have to worry about it!

    The fence is an insane idea from an insane administration trying to show that they are addressing illegal immigration. But then, that admin. tends to boggle the mind every time they do anything. It is no surprise that they care nothing about the disruption that will be caused by this.

    Since Bush is a Texan, I would think he would be very conscious of the problems this will cause and do anything to avoid pissing off his own state. Mmm, guess not.

    I am from California and am very familiar with the illegal alien problem. I am also very aware of the critical role they play as seasonal farm workers in our central valley – jobs that no one else will do.

    I sincerely hope you are successful in your efforts to get this ridiculous idea off of the table.

  10. nytexan said

    Expatbrian:
    Thanks for coming by. I thought I should give non Texans an idea of what the fence will really do.

    I thought a north and west border would calm the rest of the country down.

    You would think that Bush being a Texan would find this idea is harmful, but then look what he has done to America and he is one of us. Go figure.

    BTW:I have added you to my blogroll.

  11. […] 23rd, 2007 by expatbrian Bluebloggin has a great post on the proposed anti-immigrant fence to be built along the southern border….. C & L has […]

  12. Marianne said

    For years, while in the Army, we were stationed in El Paso and truly enjoyed the wonderful and deverse area with all its wildlife and recreational opportunities. This article has done a terrific job of pointing out what is wrong with the fence idea. Not to mention that it reminds me of the Berlin Wall. Let’s get the currant Immigration law going, let’s do something–all we do is talk and talk and never create action toward the problem. Now is the time to do something, even the proposed stop-gap, and NOT add a wall to the vista of our friends to the south–spend that money on cameras, and thousands more border guards. How would we feel if Canada put up a wall?

    Marianne
    comfortfoods.wordpress.com

  13. nytexan said

    Marianne:
    Glad to see you again.

    It would be nice if the Feds beefed up the money for the boarder. Texas has put camera,drones and other devices at the expense of Texas. We are doing and spending to create an effective system and all the federal government wants to do is put up a wall.

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