Monday, February 18, 2008


FROM AUSTIN -- HOLES IN THE WALL in the Texas Observer

As the Department of Homeland Security marches down the Texas border serving condemnation lawsuits to frightened landowners, South Texas residents Eloisa Tamez and Daniel Garza wonder why their modest homes are being condemned while the property of their wealthier neighbors remains untouched.

In Hidalgo County, a 1.73-mile proposed fence will cut through the tiny town of Granjeno then stop abruptly at the property line of a 6,000-acre development owned by a wealthy Dallas oil baron, and a close friend of President George W. Bush. In Cameron County a 1.63-mile proposed fence will cut through the backyard of several modest homes and stop at the edge of a resort and golf course.

The Observer's investigative reporter Melissa del Bosque traveled up and down the Texas border, speaking with landowners, local officials, congressional offices and Homeland Security officials about the border fence. What she got from Homeland Security was a barrier of secrecy and unanswered questions about the methodology used in the placement of a fence that targets the powerless.

Chad Foster, Mayor of Eagle Pass, a city being sued by Homeland Security, summed it up best when he called the border wall a $49-billion boondoggle that is enriching private companies at the taxpayers' expense.

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