Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff vowed in February that border residents would be consulted on how best to secure the border, local officials say. But they were still waiting for such meetings when Border Patrol officials showed area landowners a map of likely fence construction in Texas.
Then they learned of bid letters for a preliminary request for up to $250 million in contracts to construct the 19 miles of fence through Laredo – and $500 million more for extensive fencing in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
"It's one of the few issues around which virtually every group along the border is organized and united," Mr. Salinas said. "No one on the border likes the wall. But Washington isn't listening, and that's a real shame."
I can't say that I am surprised by the government not keeping their promises, but I understand the anger of these residents. They live on the border. Who better to consult on ways to "secure" the border than those who freakin' live on it?
Earlier this month, President Bush further angered border leaders by threatening to veto a security bill that linked funds for fence construction to community input.Measures added by U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn would require Homeland Security to confer with local leaders before the money is spent.
But the president rejected such meetings as unnecessary, since "extensive outreach and coordination" had already been done.
Unfortunately this "extensive outreach and coordination" was not done with these border residents. It is pretty obvious that the government really doesn't care what the locals think.