Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Border Bound

Real quick, some updates on the U.S./Mexico border.
In case you haven’t been following the news, a 6-foot-long cross-border tunnel was recently discovered a few weeks ago underneath a section of border fence at the U.S.-Mexico line in Otay Mesa, California; a sort of capital of border tunnels in the least few years, especially after a 2,400 foot long “Grand Tunnel” was discovered extending 35-50 feet underground below public roads, buildings and open spaces from inside a warehouse in Tijuana to San Diego. However, this "very primitive" tunnel was measured at only 30 inches in diameter, just wide enough to be used for human smuggling, officials said. Just a mere “gopher hole” as the Tunnel Task Force jargon would call it.
From reports I've read, this puts the total border fences discovered along the border at over 50 now, though the news tends to report 40 I think to perhaps downplay this scenario.

[Image: Border tunnel found end of March, Photos courtesy of the Mexican Attorney General's office.]

The plan now has been to pour concrete sheets into the bigger tunnels plugging them in the northern side of the border, until more massive concrete plugs can be funded that would fill up the entire northern tunnel passage. Also, read our last post on border tunnel infill for a bit more on some of the main tunnels that have been found and are being planned for plugs.

But, so far, enforcement hasn’t really proven able to devise a reliable solution despite building these types of fences, rather we have seen increased violence along the border and the development of new migration fronts, like Yuma, for example, which oversees 62 miles of the border and where agents are catching 300 to 450 immigrants a day (which is apparently normal, but with tightened patrols in Nogales and Douglas, AZ. - there have been massive spikes in daily flows). Obvious other fronts are pushing either underground (the rapidity of tunnel exposure continues to dramatically increase), deeper out into the desert (where more and more migrants die almost daily), stashed in vehicles, and even in Border Patrol or ICE corruption. The result of enforcement almost exacerbates the paths of illegal immigration instead of abating them.

[Image: Towers scan border in Tucson, Arizona. Photos by David Sanders / arizona daily star, 2007.]

On a good note, the Senate recently voted unanimously on a bill that would make it mandatory for “federal authorities to consider concerns raised by states, local governments and property owners in places where fencing would go up.” This comes after much debate has circulated in Texas where local officials have staunchly resisted plan to build fencing along certain portions of their southern border, like in Val Verde County.
Basically, the DHS went down there with a massive map of all the proposed places of fencing they planned to build from Texas to California, which ticked off lots of locals for having not even been considered in the plan.
Eventually, the DHS relented some and said they would work with locals to determine what was the best solution for everyone, but in disregard of several reports have circulated finally making more light of how fencing would destroy much of the environment apparently there has been a fast tracking of the barrier construction process to build in the Rio Grande Valley. Additional reports even indicate that some of this barrier construction would violate part of an international boundary treaty with Mexico over international water flows. I quote:

Sally Spener, spokesperson for the IBWC, said that impermeable fences on US territory but between existing rivers and levees could violate the treaty by deflecting or obstructing the natural water flow. The treaty established the Rio Grande and the Colorado River as the international boundary between the two countries, and established provisions to avoid the loss of territory by either party as a result of changes to the river's flow due to causes other than natural lateral movement.
Even though Congress approved several months ago a plan to build 700 miles of border fencing it turned out the necessary funds were never approved. Nevertheless, seventy miles of border fence will be built by the end of the year, though, according to this article none in Texas until 2008.

[Image: Map of future border fence construction in Texas. By AARON NELSEN, The Brownsville Herald, May 6, 2007.]

Part of the plan is to complete a 34-mile section of barricading in Arizona along the Barry M. Goldwater U.S. military artillery firing range (which is already being tampered with and seen as a wink link). “Several other chunks will be built in New Mexico, California and in other parts of Arizona. They’re seeing a combination of illegal incursions, and we will address these areas of vulnerability first.” 153 miles of border fencing will actually end up in Texas at some point, 70 of which will be in the Rio Grande, while the remaining fencing out of 375 miles is still in some sort of planning phase. The cost for this 375 miles? Estimates are between $6 billion and $25.9 billion over a 25-year period.

Anyway, I am busy doing Postopolis! right now and will try to get more posts up soon. Stay tuned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dispense with the fence and bring in landmines........

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday, I wrote a post, Border-Fence Logic Sets Dangerous Precedents , for my blog, Bob McCarty Writes™.

In that post, I examine what would happen if the logic being applied to construction of a border fence was used in areas such as bank, home and prison security. The results are downright frightening and produce one logical conclusion: No matter how you dress it up, a pig is still a pig. In other words, any border security proposal that fails to provide 100 percent-secure coverage of both our southern and northern flanks is a non-starter from the get-go.

Read the entire post here and let me know if you agree.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I'm sure they don't do it for nothing.

4:33 PM  

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