Tuesday, April 1, 2008

When you don't like the law … ignore it

In an ironic twist of logic so glaring that only the Bush administration would be unable to recognize its cognitive dissonance, the administration announced today that it will use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border.

Unable to legally acquire the land needed to construct a border wall to prevent the influx of immigrants "ignoring" US immigration laws, the Bush administration has chosen to ignore the laws protecting the basic property rights of US citizens and opted to just seize their land

Faced with numerous legal actions on the behalf of the land owners and communities along the southern border who object to the government's confiscation of their property, the administration has chosen instead to use its power to simply waive its legal responsibilities.

I guess "respect for the law" only applies to those trying to enter the country …not those trying to keep them out.

Feds: Administration will use waivers of regulations to build more of border fence

The Bush administration plans to use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of this year, federal officials said Tuesday.

Invoking the legal waivers — which Congress authorized — would cut through bureaucratic red tape and sidestep environmental laws that currently stand in the way of the Homeland Security Department building 267 miles of fencing in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, according to officials familiar with the plan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the waivers had not yet been announced.

The move would be the biggest use of legal waivers since the administration started building the fence. Previously, the department has used its waiver authority for two portions of fence in Arizona and one portion in San Diego.

As of March 17, there were 309 miles of fencing in place, leaving 361 to be completed by the end of the year. Of those, 267 miles are being held up by federal, state and local laws and regulations.

The waivers would address the construction of a 22-mile levee barrier in Hidalgo County, Texas; 30 miles of fencing and technology deployment on environmentally sensitive ground in San Diego, Tucson and the Rio Grande; and 215 miles in California, Arizona and Texas that face other legal impediments due to administrative processes. For instance, building in some areas requires assessments and studies that — if conducted — could not be completed in time to finish the fence by the end of the year.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had said using the waivers would be a last resort. The department has held more than 100 meetings with lawmakers, environmental groups and residents in an effort to work out obstacles and objections to fence construction. The department will conduct environmental assessments when necessary, one of the officials said. But the waivers allow the department to start building before completing the assessments.

The department was expected to announce the plans later Tuesday.

Residents and property owners along the U.S.-Mexico border have complained about the construction of fencing. In South Texas, where opposition has been widespread, land owners refused to give the government access to property along the fence route.

The government has since sued more than 50 property owners to gain access to the land.

Environmentalists have also complained about the fence because they say it puts already endangered species such as two types of wild cats — the ocelot and the jaguarundi — in even more danger of extinction. They say the fence would prevent them from swimming across the water to mate.

Chertoff has said the fence is good for the environment because immigrants degrade the land with trash and human waste when they sneak illegally into the country.

AP, Star Tribune


Anonymous said...

It's only a fence sort of like the one around your yard and millions of other yards. The world will keep on revolving and the sun will still shine. So, what is the real reason you object to a security fence without all the BS?

Horace said...

The 5th Amendment to the Constitution says:

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Note that the only restriction on the taking of land for public use is that it must be done with just compensation. There's no court in the land that would deny the government taking of land for national security purposes, in spite of environmentalists concerns or laws relating to such matters. Nothing trumps national security, and the referenced 30 laws do have exceptions for that purpose. The courts have mandated negotiations for price, but beyond that, they have had no objections to its legality. So much for those who would keep our borders open to illegal aliens and criminals. Duke shows his ignorance.

Duke1676 said...


Unlike Marisa over at Latina Lista who has been more than patient and gracious in allowing you to defecate all over her blog's comment section for quite some time now, I have no qualms about deleting inane and non-sequitur comments made by those with no intent have having intelligent discourse, but are merely disruptive trolls.

As evidenced by your obvious lack of understanding of the basic concepts of law, it is quite ironic that you chose to quote from the constitution to make your feeble-minded case.

While the constitution does give the the government the right to seize private property for public use if just compensation is rendered, there are thousand of laws and regulations on the books and in case law, not only federal, but state and municipal, to determine the circumstances and limits to such seizures.

Obvious to anyone who read the details in this case, there were more than 30 such laws and regulations in place preventing the Bush administration from moving forward with their plan.

The fact that they are once again showing utter disregard for the rule of the law, and the constitution in order to do whatever they damn well please comes for course as no surprise. We've had eight years of flagrant disregard for the law and dismantling of the constitution from this administration so we should expect no different now.

As to your reference to the courts having no problem with the administration's plan ...they have consistantly ruled against the them on this issue - hence the need to bypass these regulations in the first place.

The people in these border regions are vehemently opposed to the wall construction for good reason, as is head of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing non-supervisory agents, who characterized the border fence as one of the "phony little measures" proposed by the Bush administration.

If the administration, and those touting the wall, actually gave a damn about this issue they would be working towards practical and effective reform rather than building meaningless fences to appease the ignorant and uninformed living thousands of miles from the border.

So, Horace, I suggest you go back to the ALIPAC forum, or wherever it is that you get your talking points from, to post your uninformed, and utterly meaningless comments.

I have neither the inclination nor patients to put up with you here.

Stentor said...

I agree about the deliciousness and outrageousness of the administration waiving the law in order to enforce the law. But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the environmental and property laws they're waiving are *good* laws, whereas the immigration laws they're trying to enforce are *bad* laws.

Anonymous said...

it will never cease to amaze me how stupid a liberal is willing to be just so they can be opposite of common sense and reason, or a conservative issue, as the case may be. You who will give up the borders of our nation and pass laws forbidding its protection will be the same ones screaming fault on the administration when it is disovered that a terrorist sneaked through the open-range border.. oh, wait, that already happened. and you STILL want no fence? Wake up people

Anonymous said...

Sounds like yet more of the "Burn the whole village down in order to save it" crap.

Nationalism is not patriotism.

Have those Sandinistas that Reagan kept muttering about finally got their army together and made their way up here?

This fence will not protect the US from terrorists. (Are they going to figure out how to 'fence' off the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Bering Strait, the Canadian border?)

It will fill up and well-line the pockets of the leaders of the corps that have the contracts to build this monstrosity.

Until the tunnels are discovered (strategically placed to complement the unfenced parts owned by the wealthy -- yeah the whole border will not be fenced -- there will be gaps) this fence will be used for promo purposes by those wanting to capitalize xenophobia.

We can only speculate what will be going through the tunnels and gaps, but most likely ti wll be the same slaves, drugs and migrant laborers we already have. Of course the folks bringing them across will be able to make more money for doing so due to the 'increased increased transportation cost.' Just remember the folks most opposed to legalizing various drugs are the legal drug makers, the alcohol and tobacco makers and, ,,, and the illegal drug makers.

Why don't we just build fences around the personal properties of those folks who are too cowardly to stand up for living in a free country. We could save lots of money and keep this crap out of Texas.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the border fence will not pass through Ray Hunt's border property who is a big Bush donor, instead the fence will pass through all the other honest, responsible U.S. Citizens who have not given Bush a donation to his library.

Angela said...

This is, importantly, an end run around the federal Endangered Species Act because of the presence of jaguar in the borderlands—it is listed as an Endangered species and the border fence would be illegal under the Act. With the border fence in place, jaguar will be unable to repopulate their historical habitat in the southwest, thus relieving the government of protecting the species. Right now there are no breeding populations, but jaguars do come into Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico. The administration has been proactive about making sure jaguars don't hamper their project by manipulating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s our tax dollars at work—A Benjamin Tuggle of the USFWS is a prime suspect.


“U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided not to write a recovery plan for the endangered jaguar, a move critics say is related to a planned fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and a lawsuit filed against the agency. Michael Robinson, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, says the agency is abdicating its responsibility to protect and restore the species in the U.S.

Benjamin Tuggle, regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, said in a Dec. 21 memo to the agency's director, H. Dale Hall, that "development of a formal recovery plan at this time would not promote the conservation of the jaguar."

I wonder why he thought that???

Anonymous said...

"It's only a fence sort of like the one around your yard and millions of other yards. The world will keep on revolving and the sun will still shine. So, what is the real reason you object to a security fence without all the BS?"

Would you want a huge fence down the middle of your property? It's not like they build this right at the border, it's built thousands of feet away, down the middle of ranches, down the middle of farms, cutting off cattle and crops from water. I bet a good number of US homes will end up on the "Mexican" side of the fence and have to go through checkpoints to go into town.

Anonymous said...

For every rainbow, there must be a little rain. Of coarse the fence is not the perfect resolution to the problem, but it will be a constant visual reminder of where the line in the sand has been drawn which says do not cross beyond this point. If it slows illegal immigration by 50% it has done it job. Some will still cross, but it will make others stop and think about the risks.

Horace said...

Well, Duke, we'll just see what the courts do say on this issue and who's spouting trash. The Supremacy Clause will no doubt be used as the trump card for state law, particularly when the Constiution grants the feds the right of eminent domain. And thus far, the courts have conceded the federal right to access properties for surveying and to negotiate for compensation. You'll eat your words when the fence is permitted to continue. Once a few of these obstreperous owners experience losses in the courts, and begin eating the legal fees, the rest will cave in.

As far as the of efficacy fence is concerned, you don't like it because it makes a statement to Mexico, that we value our sovereignty and puts a thumb in the eye of advocacy groups that want open borders and the contiued flood of fugitives from Mexican law and socioeconomic failures. You really could care less as to any waste of money that would ensue, so stop the bullshit.

I really don't care about your intolerance to opposing positions, as it's a characteristic of liberals to stiffle speech when the 1st Amendment doesn't suit them, Duke. You'll just prove my point if you cut me off.

Duke1676 said...


Your ignorance is only surpassed by your utter audacity. For the record, your first amendment rights end at my comment moderation trash can. This is a public space only to the extent that I want it to be, and just as I wouldn't come to your house and talk inane trash and expect to be welcome, you should not expect a courteous welcome when you come here armed only with a cache of meaningless right-wing slogans and talking points based on fabrications and misinformation.

As a typical right-winger, you will of course accuse me of being somehow un-American or traitorous for not giving your ignorant viewpoints an equal hearing. But while the constitution does protect your right to be stupid ... I don't have to accept it as meaningful discourse.

But since your new here, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I'll assume that your not use to having to actually back up your misinformed, unintelligent and ignorant comments with actual factual information.... but here we try to do our best to stay within the bounds of reality when discussing 1ssues.

So as a exercise in futility I will direct you to some factual information on the effects and effectiveness of wall building. Much of it coming from government studies and oversight reports.

Hopefully you will be able to comprehend it and manage to take away enough substantive information to engage in future conversations in a moderately intelligent and informed manner ...





...or you can just continue spouting off the same second-rate winger talking points and have your comments deleted

Anonymous said...

The Congress has full authority to waiver any law below the Constitution if it so desires so I don't see what the problem is.

Horace said...


I am not ignorant of the fact that you have a perfect right to delete any of my comments and I confess to deliberately baiting you with my false assertion of a 1st Amendment right to free speech in your blog. However, I continue to assert the right of the Excutive Branch to taking by eminent domain for any purpose deemed necessary to the good of the nation as a whole, regardless of environmental concerns.

I also believe that although the fence is expensive, it is a necessary evil, and that by continuous tweaking of its infrastructure by ultimately installing multi-layering fencing, use of remotely piloted reconaissance, use of infrared and visual spectrum sensors, addition of Border Patrol, both airborne and terrestrial, and subsurface monitoring using seismic sensors, illegal immigration will be significantly curtailed. The objective is to make it too expensive for illegal aliens to attempt a crossing. The cost of preventing illegal immigration is outweighed by the cost that this nation incurs by importing millions of semi-literate and unskilled workers. Even if a guest worker program was implemented, Central and South America would still produce millions of unskilled and illiterate workers every year in need of employment, and they may be heedless of the lack of the need for additional workers. This country will never become the dumping ground for anothers socioeconimic disasters, as Mexico is forcing it to be.

I remember one advocate saying that those illegal aliens currently here will stay regardless of the economic situation, because it is better to work one day a week here at prevailing wages than go home and work a week for far less. And how will they afford to say here? The only way possible is to live in overcrowded housing and under conditions that the average American would find unacceptable. If this is so, then a guest worker program would never really be a guest worker program, would it? After all, these guests ever have any incentive to go home. They simply go underground and abandon their guest worker agreement. This would be especially true during recessions, where they'd lose their jobs and be obligated under contract to return to their homelands. Guest worker programs are in effect, a gamble, not a certainty. Anyone with foresight could see that ultimately we'd be inviting the same malaise as seen in the poverty of the villages of the Mexican countryside. It doesn't take much imagination to recognize that over time we'd accumulate overcrowded rundown ghettos whose owners have a large unemployment rate and can't keep up their homes because they have no disposable income to do so. And the same advocates for these people today would be claiming racial discrimination and calling for large transfers of wealth from the middile class to rectify the situation. Granting such people a path to citizenship would only exacerbate the problem, as the poor would eventually become the keepers of the keys to the treasury and raiding it at every opportunity. Was it Greenspan or some other economist that said that said that the combination of illegal immigration, eventual citizenship and welfare is a prescription for disaster, as the first thing the poor would do when they come to power is to vote themselves additional welfare benefits?

No, I can't see a compromise in this situation, as the stakes for the future of this country are too high to take a chance on CIR such as the recent Senate is proposing.

Hran said...

It is indeed ironic: Bush has done little to enforce immigration laws and would love to simply do away with the border. This fence thing is probably a ploy to assuage the anti-immigration side of the Republican party, which is pissed off by Bush's complete lack of respect for the rule of law in this area.

I think I heard on NPR the other day that, in fact, national security does trump other laws. This is established legal precedent.

As for the efficacy of the fence. It is perhaps only symbolic, as people will find ways to get around it. We need to enforce the laws within the US, and then the illegals will go home of their own volition. If there are no jobs, they won't try to get across in the first place.

As for the environmental argument, it is laughably bogus. The environmentalist are concerned over a fence, but not concerned about the millions of immigrants that have come into the country over the last 20 years. Also, border wilderness areas are suffering greatly because of the illegal immigrants leaving trash, and otherwise despoiling those areas.

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Publius said...

What's truly ironic is that we have to listen to advocates of illegal aliens decry the construction of the fence as a travesty of our environmental laws while at the same time note that they facilitate the violation of our immigration laws by shielding their constituency and initiating nuissance law suits. The good news is that it's likely the courts will turn their lawyers into laughing stocks, as they are truly misconstruing the intent of the Constitution. Judging by a lack of widespread outcry by the non-Hispanic public, their complaints ring hollow.

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