April is the Cruellest Month…

“APRIL is the cruellest month…” (Eliot, T.S. The Wasteland)

 

    April Fool’s 2008 will assuredly go down as a cruel day in the history of these United States. On this April 1, the United States government opted to bypass more than 30 laws in hopes of rushing construction of a controversial border wall. The wall is currently held up in negotiations, court cases, local protests, and wavering public support, but Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff ordered these waivers stating, “`Criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or protracted litigation…These waivers will enable important security projects to keep moving forward.”

    The waivers are the biggest use of legal waivers since the administration started building fence. The government waived 20 environmental laws to build the wall in Arizona, but this waver will cover a “total of 470 miles along the Southwest border.” As stated by the Associated Press article leaked today at 11:40, the department will conduct environmental surveys when necessary, but allow them to start building before these are completed.

 

30 laws. 30 laws which took hundreds of days to pass, millions of dollars to lobby and legislate. 30 laws which represent millions of Americans and thousands of endangered animals and ecosystems. 30 laws tossed aside in the name of anti-terrorism. 30 laws tossed aside to complete the Secure Fence Act of 2006 which was proposed as immigration legislation and which has almost no terror-deterrent utility, as admitted by government officials.

 

    Chertoff has stated that the border wall will be beneficial to the environment because immigrants degrade the land with trash and human waste. I somehow cannot reconcile natural human movements with two eighteen-foot walls of solid concrete and vegetation cleared for visibility, mobility, and Border Patrol Access. Having just seen my first jaguarundi this past Saturday, I might be one of the last people to ever see them on American soil if this wall demolishes their ecosystem, along with that of Sonoran Pronghorns, ocelots, Sabal Palms, and many other native fauna and flora.

  • What makes a law “red tape,” a thing to be cut and disregarded?
  • What makes deterring immigration more important than preserving the rights of a nation of immigrants?
  • Who is to decide that people on the border are less important than people in mid-America?
  • Who decides that certain endangered animals are not worth saving, certain ecosystems dispensable, certain people undesirable, certain solutions nonnegotiable?

I cannot believe that Americans could be in support of such a foolhardy negation of so many laws, even if they are for a border wall. If “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” then these waivers of legislation serve as a chilling precedent of further lawlessness, much like parts of the Patriot Act. I beseech you to contact your Congressmen, since Congress authorized these waivers just today. I beg you to pray with me that Americans will come to their consciences and oppose these waivers. How we react to these waivers and the impending border wall in this cruel month will decide the legacy of our generation and our nation.

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3 Responses to “April is the Cruellest Month…”

  1. Crystal Canales Says:

    This is awful.

    A true tragic blow to the integrity of millions of people across all the Americas and the globe that our nation could ever choose to obstruct freedom and justice in the name of fear and ignorance.

    At the same time it is a wake up call. The flaws in the system we seek to fix and improve are growing larger, and the opposition to real immigration reform is increasing in strength. If there is anything positive to take away from this it is that we now know we too must continue to grow in strength and stand tall for all that we are fighting for – peace and understanding in the place of intolerance and indifference.

  2. S Nicol Says:

    The fact that Chertoff can wiave the laws that protect border residents to build the wall, but cannot do the same to any other American’s legal rights, is fundamentally offensive. Equal protection under the rule of law is a fundamental principle of the United States.

    Even more galling for Hidalgo county residents (myself among them) is the response of judge J.D. Salinas. A few short months ago he fought stridently against the border wall. When the waiver of laws that protect his constituents was announced he responded,

    “As it relates to Hidalgo County, the DHS waiver is responsive to the needs of our diverse border community. It is the result of listening to the concerns of those who opposed the construction of the border fence for various social, economic and environmental reasons, and it is the result of listening to those who wholeheartedly support rehabilitation of the deteriorated river levee system.

    The Hidalgo County waiver does not halt environmental discussions on the project. DHS has stated that it ‘remains committed to protecting the Nation and deterring illegal entry and other crimes through control of the border, while acting to protect the environment…’ Hidalgo County leaders are committed to listen to the concerns of various environmental groups concerned with the levee barrier plan and submit these concerns to the appropriate federal agencies with decision-making authority.

    Hidalgo County has been at the forefront of the border fence issue from day one, pushing our elected officials in Washington to listen to community concerns and formulating a strategy to protect the residents of Hidalgo County from flood waters while accomplishing plans of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to protect the nation’s borders. It is a good day when Washington listens and responds to our needs. Hidalgo County appreciates the opportunity to continue consultations with DHS to make our community safer and more attractive to future smart development.”

    This is disgusting. Hidalgo county residents should write and call the judge and demand that he fight to restore their legal protections, rather than acting as an apologist for those that would waive them. Letters to the editor condemning his absurd statements should also be submitted to the Monitor and Valley Morning Star. Judge Salinas clearly does not represent the interests of Hidalgo County residents, and he needs to hear that message loud and clear.

  3. Civil Rights Opportunity of the Century « Smart Borders Says:

    […] open and our leaders were willing to listen to reason and conscience. My hopes were jarred this April Fool’s Day 2008, but I have now come to understand that this is merely a call to […]

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