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 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.
Marina Lake Amistad in Del Rio
Border bridges: Laredo, Texas, on the right, is the nation’s busiest inland port.