In October 2006, President Bush authorized the construction of a 700-mile border fence between the United States and Mexico. Now, however, the Department of Homeland Security’s construction plans are facing opposition from Texans who object to the fence cutting through their property. The Washington Post reports on the hard line the Bush administration is taking with these protesting landowners:
In December, officials sent warning letters to 135 private landowners, municipalities, universities, public utility companies and conservation societies along the border that had turned away surveyors. Landowners were given 30 days to change their minds or face legal action. More than 100 of them — 71 in Texas — let the deadline pass.
Over the past several weeks, U.S. attorneys acting on behalf of the Homeland Security Department have been filing lawsuits against the holdouts.
DHS has no problem pursuing elderly and struggling homeowners. In the small town of Granjeno (pop. 313), however, the border fence would, conveniently, “abruptly end” at the property owned by Dallas billionaire Ray L. Hunt.
It’s not surprising that the administration would be hesitant to upset Hunt, who was a Bush-Cheney campaign “Pioneer” in 2000. More recently, Hunt “donated $35 million to Southern Methodist University to help build Bush’s presidential library.” In 2001, Bush appointed Hunt to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, granting him “a security clearance and access to classified intelligence.”
Hunt, one of the wealthiest oilmen in the world, previously served on the board of Halliburton and was National Petroleum Council chairman between 1991 and 1994.
Daniel Garza, a 76-year old man who might lose his home to the border fence’s intrusion, noted, “I don’t see why they have to destroy my home, my land, and let the wall end there.” Pointing across the street to Hunt’s land, he added, “How will that stop illegal immigration?”