Rio Grande Guardian
September 14, 2011
by Steve Taylor
BROWNSVILLE, Sept. 14 - State Sen. Eddie Lucio is to hold a public meeting on Saturday to discuss the Border Wall.
The meeting takes place from 11 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. on Saturday at the Fort Brown Memorial Golf Course Clubhouse at 300 River Levee Road in Brownsville.
“We need to know more, much more, about the federal border wall,” said Lucio, D-Brownsville. “At the meeting, we will be hearing from our law enforcement agencies, sharing our personnel stories about the wall and discussing potential solutions.”
Lucio said he sincerely hopes citizens affected by the wall will join him at the meeting.
“In order for our communities to respond to federal policy, we need to have facts, figures and analysis. Saturday's meeting is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Brownsville residents were in the forefront of the opposition groups that sprang up in 2006 and 2007 in opposition to the border wall. They held rallies on the international bridges and organized public meetings. It was to no avail. The Department of Homeland Security built the border wall in the city and on University of Texas at Brownsville land.
Lucio explained why more needs to be learned about the border wall and its impact.
“Since Congress passed the Secure Fence Act in 2006, 70 miles of fencing - 20 feet high - has been built in the Rio Grande Valley. But because the river is the true boundary between Texas and Mexico, the wall actually lies north of the border, dividing residential and commercial properties that run to the river edge,” he said.
Lucio pointed out that during this year’s regular 82nd legislative session he filed a bill that dealt with the federal border wall.
“My bill, Senate Bill 1809, would have required the state government to study the economic impact that the border wall is having on homes, properties, and businesses. The reason is simple. We need to know how many homes are caught in the no man's land between the wall and the river. We need to know how many citrus groves and other agricultural businesses the wall slices through,” he said.
Lucio said he worked hard on this issue and was pleased to see his bill pass the Senate with bipartisan support. “Unfortunately, the bill died when it went to the Texas House of Representatives. To be honest, I was both surprised and disappointed that it did not pass,” Lucio said.
Lucio said it is clear to anyone living in the Lone Star state that Texans value property rights very highly. “With this in mind, you would expect politicians in Texas to be enthusiastic about passing my border wall bill. After all, it would ensure that Texans have accurate information about a controversial federal program that encroaches on local rights,” he said.
“My personal conviction is that border Texans should have the same rights as other Americans when it comes to property rights and freedom of information,” Lucio argued. “Unfortunately, we currently have limited information about the border wall's impact. That is not good enough for the Valley or Texas.”
Lucio said that while Saturday’s public meeting will be a step in the right direction, more needs to be done.
“We need the state government to do its part as well. That is why I plan to file my border wall bill again during the 83rd legislative session in 2013,” Lucio said, assuming he is re-elected.