Laredo offers border fence alternative: City buying land along river as security buff

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Stephanie, May 21, 2006.

  1. Stephanie
    Offline

    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Messages:
    70,236
    Thanks Received:
    10,817
    Trophy Points:
    2,040
    Ratings:
    +27,359
    [May 20, 2006]
    :huh: :scratch:

    Laredo offers border fence alternative: City buying land along river as security buffer, park

    (Dallas Morning News, The (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) May 20--LAREDO -- As Congress continues debate on legislation that calls for 350 miles of fencing along the Mexican border, the city of Laredo would prefer not to be included. Same goes for the National Guard presence recently announced by President Bush.



    It's not that the people of Laredo are opposed to border security or enforcing immigration laws. They just think there's a better way.

    And they think the federal government should take notes. The city has forwarded its idea to Homeland Security as a counterproposal for border security.

    "A massive steel-and-wire wall won't serve any positive purpose except to present an ugly affront to the people of Mexico," said Mayor Betty Flores.

    Instead, Laredo has been buying up land within the city along the Rio Grande to create improved green space that would serve as an 18-mile security buffer and linear park.

    The City Council passed a resolution in February opposing the construction of a security fence of any kind on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande as "retrograde, redundant and, more important, an insulting symbol to our Mexican neighbors."

    Over the past several years, the city has acquired about 800 acres either through donation or outright purchase at a cost of about $4 million. Over the next 10 years, the city will buy roughly the same amount of land to get possession of most of the real estate along the river from one end of the city to the other.

    "The idea is to clean it and improve the property, create parkland along the river from city limits to city limits, and make the area along the border more amenable," said City Manager Larry Dovalina. "It would also make the river area more accessible to police and Border Patrol. We're trying to show that providing security doesn't have to be offensive to our neighbors."

    Homeland Security officials had no comment on the Laredo plan but said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has long favored using security measures along the border that are best applicable to an area's geography and needs.

    "We're going to build ourselves what I call a virtual fence, not a fence of barbed wire and bricks and mortar, which I will tell you simply doesn't work, because people just go over the fence," Mr. Chertoff said during a March 20 briefing in Washington.

    Yet there is strong support in Congress to start building walls along the border to inhibit the flow of illegal immigrants and minimize terrorist threats across the Mexican border.

    What the bill calls for

    The Senate bill includes a proposal to build a double set of steel walls with floodlights, surveillance cameras and motion detectors along 350 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexican border and 500 miles of vehicle barriers in highly trafficked areas to be designated by Homeland Security.

    Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., estimated his measure would cost $1 billion, though other estimates placed it as high as $4 billion. The House has approved 700 miles of fencing along the border.

    Texas' two senators are on opposite sides on the border fence. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has said she's open to the idea. Sen. John Cornyn sees it as impractical.

    This week, the Arizona-based Minuteman Civil Defense Corps announced it would start construction of a border security fence May 27 on a private ranch in southern Arizona.

    Corps spokeswoman Connie Hair said plans call for two parallel 15-foot-tall steel-mesh fences, 50 feet to 150 feet long, connected by an unpaved road.

    Fencing of some kind exists along 106 miles of the border, mostly near cities, including San Diego, El Paso and Nogales, Ariz. Most of it consists of welded panels of corrugated steel, often topped with barbed wire.

    According to the Pew Hispanic Center, one-third of the estimated 12 million people who have entered the U.S. illegally did not walk across. They entered on tourist, student or work visas and stayed past their visa expiration.

    Transformation

    In Laredo, the presence of sister-city Nuevo Laredo, literally across a narrow river, makes the idea of a steel barrier protruding for miles on each side of downtown particularly galling.

    "Every day, hundreds of thousands of people cross the river back and forth between the two cities to shop, to visit and to work," said Ms. Flores, the mayor. "Homeland Security has the legal power to take land by condemnation to build that wall. But we hope to show them it would be a terrible mistake."

    The Laredo project would transform roughly 18 miles of riverfront, much of it choked in cane and wild brush, into a park and nature preserve that would link baseball parks and soccer fields to untouched natural areas via a system of nature trails. The space would vary in width from 200 feet to 1,000 feet in some places.


    The city would also pay to help lengthen and improve an existing unpaved roadway along the river currently used by the Border Patrol so it can be more accessible for city fire and police and the Border Patrol.

    Border Patrol officials in Laredo were initially hesitant about the proposed parkway. But Ms. Flores said the Border Patrol is now ready to sign an agreement on the roadway improvements.

    Mike Herrera, spokesman for the Border Patrol sector headquarters at Laredo, did not comment specifically about the proposed green space.

    "We continually meet with local, state and federal entities regarding any changes to current border infrastructure. We don't control the infrastructure actions of [local] governments," Mr. Herrera said. "The Border Patrol incorporates a flexible 'defense in depth' posture which allows us to secure the border irrespective of changes to geographical areas."

    The mayor has no illusions that Laredo's idea of a kinder, gentler security buffer will catch on in Congress.

    "But we need to promote the idea that protecting our borders doesn't mean hurting our friends," she said. "We think our effort is far better than building a fence and shutting down the border."
    http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/05/20/1657250.htm
     
  2. 007
    Offline

    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    38,386
    Thanks Received:
    7,859
    Trophy Points:
    1,130
    Ratings:
    +11,912
    "Not to OFFEND" our mexican neighbors? Un-fucking-believable.

    Why is it that America is the only only concerned with "offending"?

    Why is it that America has the burden of "guilt"?

    Why is it the America is the one being infiltrated, and has to make concessions?

    Why are there so many people standing willing and able to sell this country out?



    I'm baffled beyond belief..........
     
  3. Mr. P
    Offline

    Mr. P Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Messages:
    11,329
    Thanks Received:
    618
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    South of the Mason Dixon
    Ratings:
    +618
    They want to build a Welcome Center! :wtf:
     
  4. dilloduck
    Offline

    dilloduck Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    53,240
    Thanks Received:
    5,552
    Trophy Points:
    1,850
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ratings:
    +6,403
    Don't be baffled---Laredo like much of south Texas was taken over by Mexicans years ago.
     
  5. Abbey Normal
    Offline

    Abbey Normal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Messages:
    4,825
    Thanks Received:
    391
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Mid-Atlantic region
    Ratings:
    +391
    How thoughtful of Mayor Flores! The invading criminals will have a nice park to rest in before they continue their illegal journey into our country.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. 007
    Offline

    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    38,386
    Thanks Received:
    7,859
    Trophy Points:
    1,130
    Ratings:
    +11,912
    One step forward, two steps back... :bang3:
     

Share This Page