Frankenfence, pollution, and racists, oh my!
The federal government has won the latest round in the U.S.-Mexico border's Frankenfence battle. On Monday, Jan. 14, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludlum ordered the city of Eagle Pass, Texas, "to 'surrender' 233 acres of city-owned land" to Uncle Sam for fence construction, according to the Associated Press. "The Justice Department sued the municipality for access to the land. ... The government had warned the city, which opposes the fence, it would sue under eminent domain laws to secure access to the property, declaring it is 'taking' the property for 180 days," reports AP, adding, "The Justice Department is expected to file 102 lawsuits against landowners for access to property the Border Patrol and Army Corps of Engineers want to survey to decide where to put border fencing or other barriers." According to Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, the government filed a dozen of those suits last Friday against landowners in Cameron County, of which Brownsville is the county seat.
The strongest opposition to the 700 miles of fence planned for the Texas portion of the U.S.-Mexico border has been east of Eagle Pass in the Rio Grande Valley, which has a history of particularly close ties to its sister cities and towns on the Mexican side of the border, and is home to multiple sensitive ecological areas the wall is slated to run right through.
Also on the environmental front, the Ciudad Juárez-El Paso area hasn't been a clean-air oasis in decades, but post-North American Free Trade Agreement, the region's air has been even more polluted, thanks mostly to an increased number of factories, or maquiladoras, and vehicle traffic, especially from big rigs loaded with goods destined for both sides of the Rio Grande. This is nothing unique among border sister cities. The real news is that the "municipal administration of [Juárez] Mayor José Reyes Ferriz has drafted a set of goals to attack" air pollution, reports Frontera NorteSur, an online border news site based at New Mexico State University. At a Nov. 8 meeting in Sunland Park, N.M., Hector Sandoval, director of Juárez's ecology department, "laid out 13 clean air policy goals established by the Reyes administration. Highlights of the strategy include installing four air quality monitoring stations, requiring air emissions stickers on private vehicles, conducting inspections of private businesses, promoting a car-pooling lane on the heavily-traveled, international Bridge of the Americas, and bringing the municipal environmental ordinance up to date," reports Frontera NorteSur. Now, whether Juárez will actually follow through on any of this is an entirely different story. For more on the plan, see www.nmsu.edu/~frontera; check out "The Hightower Report," for unrelated NAFTA commentary.
Finally, here's some immigration-related info that shouldn't fly under Austinites' radar. The American Renaissance Conference, put on by American Renaissance magazine, which Google Directory describes as "A conservative monthly publication [promoting] a variety of white racial positions," will take place Feb. 22-24. The conference website (www.amren.com/conference/2008/index.html) certainly lends credence to Google's description: "In all parts of the world, whites are afraid to speak out in their own interests. Racial differences in IQ, the costs of 'diversity,' the challenges of non-white immigration – politicians and the media dare not discuss what these things mean for whites and their civilization." The biannual event is booked at the Crowne Plaza Dulles Airport Hotel in Herndon, Va., and activists are busy making plans to protest the gathering outside the hotel all day Saturday, Feb. 23, starting around 9:30am. Up for a trip to Herndon? Shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, the address of protest organizer Marco Del Fuego, a member of Resistance and Solidarity, a self-described "DC-based collective opposing racism, fascism and the cruelties perpetrated by the capitalist system."