Mayors slow building of fence

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By The Associated Press BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Mayors along the Texas-Mexico border have begun a quiet protest of the federal government’s plans to build a fence along the border: They are refusing to give access to their land. Mayors in Brownsville, Del Rio and El Paso have denied access to some parts of their city property, turning away federal employees assigned to begin surveys or conduct other preliminary work on the fence meant to keep out illegal immigrants. “This is exercising our rights. This is our property. We are not going to make it easy for them,” said Brownsville Mayor Pat Ahumada, who refused last month to sign documents granting government workers permission to enter city property. In Eagle Pass, Mayor Chad Foster initially refused the Border Patrol’s request to build 1 miles of fencing as part of a project that includes light towers and a new road for patrols. Now he is negotiating with the Department of Homeland Security. “All of us are in opposition to physical barriers, but we want to work with DHS so everybody walks away happy,” Foster said. Del Rio and El Paso granted workers limited access, said Monica Weisberg Stewart of the Texas Border Coalition, a group that represents local officials. Congress has authorized $1.2billion to put up 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The project would include about 330miles of so-called virtual fence – a network of cameras, high-tech sensors, radar and other technology. The remaining 370 miles, primarily in more urban areas, are expected to have an actual fence. last_img

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