Texas mayors want deeper border
By Will Grant
A group of mayors from border towns in the US state of Texas has called for sections of the Rio Grande to be dammed as a deterrent to illegal immigration.
The mayors want to deepen and widen the natural border with Mexico through a series of low dams or weirs across the desert flood plain.
Tens of thousands of people cross the river border illegally every month.
Critics say more people will die trying to get over the border if the river-crossing is made more dangerous.
The Rio Grande, or the Rio Bravo del Norte as it is called in Mexico, forms the border between the US state of Texas and Mexico.
It is a popular point of entry for the many thousands of illegal immigrants hoping to cross over into the US.
Many people in the border regions are unhappy about the growth of illegal immigration.
Part of the Bush administration's response has been to start the construction of hundreds of kilometres of security fence along the border, backed up by patrols and surveillance cameras.
But now a group of Texan mayors, business leaders and county judges feel the approach is misguided.
They say the key to stopping illegal immigration - at least in Texas - is the Rio Grande.
They propose damming the river along several important sections in the flood plain to widen and deepen the river, making it too hazardous to cross.
They believe the measure, when taken in conjunction with improved surveillance, is much more cost-effective than the fence.
"We're only going to have one chance to secure the border and we feel that in this modern age, technology is the way to sincerely secure the border," says the group's leader, Chad Foster, the mayor of Eagle Pass.
"The fence... is going to convey a false sense of security, and the border patrol has said it will only slow down an illegal entry by three to four minutes," he added.
Some border towns on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande are also in favour of the measure, reports suggest, because they believe it will help to increase the region's water supply.
But critics of the scheme say that it will do nothing to reduce the number of people prepared to risk everything in search of a better life in the north, and a more dangerous river-crossing will simply mean that more of them will die in the attempt.
Nothing says ReThuglican quite like this story from the Deep Red State of Texas. The Compassionate Conservatives in the Lone Star State are proposing to drown the undocumented immigrants like so many rats. This story points out the viciousness of the GOP nativist crowd.
It is a lovely two-for-one in their minds, they get to cut government spending and cruelly kill some "wetbacks." They are not-so-secretly enjoying that idea. It is the mentality of the five year old boy tearing the wings off flies. It is the mentality of a stone-cold racist.
Texas being Texas these yahoos can freely spew their very special brand of hate. Tom Delay arraigned one-party rule for the good folks of Texas. Since the ReThuglicans now own the state lock-stock-and-barrel the base can now indulge their inner clansman. No Political Correctness for the Bubba and his redneck pals, no sir! Thanks to Delay politicians now have to pander to the troglodyte set to get past the primaries. Not that these scum of the earth pols find the task particularly onerous, race-baiting has been part of Texas politics since at least the Reconstruction.
It a shame that Ann Richards is no longer with us; she would tartly connect the dots of how these politicians are shafting the real interests of ordinary Texans. She would have pointed out how this race-baiting and immigrant bashing is being used to distract voters from the real issues. She would have pointed out how the ReThuglicans are selling out the interests of a majority to Texans to their special-interest big-business cronies. She would have been merciless in demonstrating how the meme of the Mexican hoards is being used fool working-class whites to vote against their own interests.
Unfortunately this is an old story; ReThuglicans have been distracting the working-class and middle-class with social issues since Goldwater. Before that it was the "Dixiecrats." In point of fact the modern Republican party in the south IS the old Dixiecrat party, case in point Strom Thurman. Goldwater was the first elephant to crack "the solid south" but the foundation was laid way back in the Truman years when Strom and his buddies splintered off because old Harry supported desegregation in word and deed. Nixon just sealed the deal with his Southern Strategy. Remember that George Wallace supporters shifted their votes en mass to Nixon when he ran for reelection.
Ever Since Nixon the ReThuglicans have banged on the drum of racism. Nativism is not new to the G.O.P. either; they have been anti-immigrant since the Irish showed up on our shores. Ever wonder why the Democratic party is chock-a-block full of Irish pols? It's because the party of Lincoln wanted nothing to do with the sons and daughters of the emerald isle. For a very long time the G.O.P was a white-bread W.A.S.P members-only set-up. Nixon changes that. It was Nixon who managed to peel off Catholics with his "law and order" fear-mongering. Guess who the "criminals" were in the Nixonian landscape. Guess their skin tone.
This is very typical Republican behavior. This is what they will run on, especially if Rudy is nominated: fear the unwashed brown hoards. Rudy will do a double-barrel with both Mexicans and Arabs as the enemy. If isn’t Mexicans coming to steal our jobs it's "Islamic extremists" coming to bomb us. It is the way of the ReThuglicans these days: fear and cruelty. No wonder those Texans love the idea of building a jumbo-sized waterboard out of the Rio Grande.