Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Border Fence Shenanigans

I wrote a couple weeks ago about some of the oddities of the proposed border fence that the federal government is planning in an effort to stem the flow of illegal aliens into Texas. For example, in Brownsville and Eagle Pass, the fence will cut off golf courses from the rest of the city. The golf courses in question would actually be outside of the current proposed fenceline.

Now comes word that another course near Brownsville - the River Bend Resort, which is an RV resort and golf facility - is being oddly affected by the border fence. Or perhaps "unaffected" is the better choice of words. And perhaps it's not so odd what seems to be happening (or not happening). After all, remember the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Tamez, a nursing director at the University of Texas at Brownsville, is one of the last of the Spanish land grant heirs in Cameron County. Her ancestors once owned 12,000 acres. In the 1930s, the federal government took more than half of her inherited land, without paying a cent, to build flood levees.

Now Homeland Security wants to put an 18-foot steel and concrete wall through what remains.

While the border wall will go through her backyard and effectively destroy her home, it will stop at the edge of the River Bend Resort and golf course, a popular Winter Texan retreat two miles down the road. The wall starts up again on the other side of the resort.

"It has a golf course and all of the amenities," Tamez says. "There are no plans to build a wall there. If the wall is so important for security, then why are we skipping parts?"

And it's not like River Bend isn't already seeing its share of aliens using it to cross into Texas. Now, it's going to present a gap in the wall? Who dreams up this stuff?

A visit to the River Bend Resort in late January reveals row after row of RVs and trailers with license plates from chilly northern U.S. states and Canadian provinces. At the edge of a lush, green golf course, a Winter Texan from Canada enjoys the mild, South Texas winter and the landscaped ponds, where white egrets pause to contemplate golf carts whizzing past. The woman, who declines to give her name, recounts that illegal immigrants had crossed the golf course once while she was teeing off. They were promptly detained by Border Patrol agents, she says, adding that agents often park their SUVs at the edge of the golf course.

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