The construction of a border wall between the U.S. southern border and Mexico is a top priority for the Trump administration. President Trump campaigned on the need for a physical barrier at the border to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. Progress has been slow.
On Tuesday President Trump travels to Yuma, Arizona to celebrate the completion of 200 miles of border wall construction. Trump is scheduled to receive a briefing on the border wall construction, followed by a roundtable discussion on border security with local community leaders and elected leaders. The president will tour the border wall and take the opportunity to thank U.S. Border Patrol and law enforcement for their work. From Yuma, he will fly to Phoenix to speak at a Students for Trump convention. The Trump entourage will include Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, and Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan.
The goal of the Trump administration is to complete 400 miles of border wall ahead of Election Day. Trump has frequently referenced the importance of a border wall in terms of national security and slowing illegal immigration. The coronavirus pandemic brought an additional angle to Trump’s pitch – a border wall helps keep deadly disease and infections out of the United States.
There are still problems in getting everyone on board with building the wall along the border. In a rural border county in Texas, Zapata County, a battle is being waged over access to four acres. Zapata County is located between Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. The commissioners court is challenging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in federal court over access to a small tract of county-owned land. Access to the land is needed to allow federal officials the right to survey the property for possible future construction projects.
Attorney Carlos Flores is representing the county. He is making the county’s case that the county is not looking for an agreement. The county doesn’t want to do anything to assist in future wall construction. Access to survey the land is seen as the first step to construction. County officials are concerned about a bird sanctuary, an argument we’ve heard before. The last time protecting birds from a wall was in the news, it was in Arizona.
“For the [Trump administration] it’s just a routine matter. But the county has taken the position that they are not going to approach it that way,” he said. “Zapata County is not looking to reach an agreement, but rather challenge the authority of the federal government to do this.”
And last month, the administration announced it was waiving several environmental policies to help fast track construction of about 70 miles of new barrier from north of Laredo to Zapata County.
Now Zapata County is trying to protect a roughly four-acre tract of land that’s home to a bird sanctuary in the town of San Ygnacio, which lies about 35 miles south of Laredo.
“We attract a lot of visitors to that area, it’s a habitat that we don’t want necessarily to be disturbed,” said Zapata County Judge Joe Rathmell.
The bird sanctuary is just an excuse. Let’s face it, it’s just an excuse to stop Trump’s wall. The county officials even drop the mask enough to signal that they are hoping for a new president after the November election. This battle began in May.
“It’s important for the court to figure out what exactly is the plan for these areas,” Rathmell said, adding that the commissioners court isn’t against border security. He said National Guard soldiers are a familiar sight in the area and Homeland Security has installed an aerostat blimp for surveillance, which most of the community is fine with.
“We just don’t feel a physical barrier is the best solution for our county,” he said.
The next step is a pre-trial conference scheduled for August. Flores said the court case could extend into the fall. He added that the fight isn’t just an attempt to run out the clock and hope that the November election brings a new administration.
“It’s not just a delay tactic, it’s actually a ‘Let’s go on the offensive’ [mentality],” Flores said. “We also have to have a strategy if there isn’t a change in the White House, and I think that this is the moment to be prepared for that.”
Marlarkey, Mr. Flores. This is a delay tactic, hoping to run out the clock until the November election. The open borders crowd is using birds as an excuse to deny access to a 4 acre plot of land. Let’s be honest, it’s all about sticking it to the bad Orange Man. By bringing up “a change in the White House”, he admitted it.