Cross posted from Liberally Conservative
The Democratic-controlled Congress won’t approve financing for a 700-mile fence along the U.S.- Mexico border and is exploring scaled-down alternatives, lawmakers say.
The fence, pushed through Congress by Republicans during last year’s election campaign, will only be built where physical barriers have proven effective, such as near cities like El Paso, Texas, lawmakers say. The Bush administration supports substituting electronic and aerial surveillance along parts of the border.
Boeing Co. is installing a 28-mile prototype of a “virtual fence’’ near Tucson, Arizona, with electronic sensors, surveillance cameras on portable towers and unmanned aerial aircraft. The project is part of a $2.5 billion contract the Chicago-based defense contractor won last year to help the U.S. detect illegal border crossings from Mexico and Canada.
Massachusetts Democrat Edward M. Kennedy and Representative Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who heads the House Homeland Security Committee, said they would study ways to redesign the fence.
Feelings from other politicians:
“At some point, physical barriers might be part of a plan, but we want to look at how many men or personnel we need to support some kind of border security initiative,’’ Thompson said. “Right now we don’t have a plan.’’
“This is still a work in progress,’’ said Senator John Cornyn. He and fellow Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison are seeking to revise last year’s fence measure, which isn’t popular among Texans living near the border.
“We voted for the authorization for the fence because that was really the only vote we had on border security,’’ Cornyn said. “Technology, I believe, is the best way to secure our border.’’
The eight-member Laredo City Council unanimously passed a resolution in August opposing construction of the 700-mile fence.
Ranchers whose land abuts the Rio Grande have complained it would make it impossible for their cattle to graze in the river, said Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar, whose district includes Laredo and ranchland along the river. “There is that issue of private property,’’ he said.
City officials want to foster commerce with Nueva Laredo, a larger city on Mexico’s side of the Rio Grande, Cuellar said. “We would rather be building bridges than fences.’’
LC is glad they all want to discuss this, but it’s disheartening when a vote is held and then retracted for political reasons. In the meantime, amnesty is a serious consideration in the feckless Senate and illegals are still streaming over the border, while the California Governor wants to provide healthcare for the masses.
**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email the coalition and let us know at what level you would like to participate.