Texas: marchers oppose border fence

On Aug. 31, more than 100 activists from a coalition of organizations concluded a four-day march along the route of a new border fence which the US federal government claims will help stop immigrants crossing from Mexico. The march opposing the fence construction began at Fort Hancock, Tex., some 55 miles southeast of El Paso, and ended with a rally in Sunland Park, New Mexico, just northwest of El Paso. Marchers took part in the action on both sides of the border fence. Border Patrol agents in vehicles and on horses kept watch over the border and scanned the march from a distance.

The new section of fencing is expected to be completed by the end of the year; it will be nearly 100 miles long, stretching across the El Paso area from Columbus, N.M., to Fort Hancock. The fence is expected to cost about four million dollars per mile, according to US Customs and Border Protection officials. (El Paso Times, Sept. 1, 3; KVIA/ABC7, El Paso, Sept. 1)

El Paso County Attorney Jose Rodriguez announced on Sept. 3 that US District Judge Frank Montalvo had denied a request for a preliminary injunction against construction of any physical barriers along the US-Mexico border. In a 28-page ruling dated Aug. 29, Montalvo said the plaintiffs failed to prove that construction would irreparably harm the public.

The request for the injunction was filed June 23 by the County of El Paso, City of El Paso, El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, Frontera Audubon Society, Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and South Texas property owner Mark Clark. The petition was part of a lawsuit challenging Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s statutory authority for issuing waivers of more than three dozen federal laws, as well as related state, local and tribal laws, to expedite the fence construction. The injunction request sought to halt construction until the Department of Homeland Security complies with the laws Chertoff waived on April 3. (El Paso Times, Sept. 3, 4)

From Immigration News Briefs, Sept. 7

See our last posts on the politics of immigration and the struggle for the border.