Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Two Faces of Senator Cornyn

With the introduction of S. 2348, the “Emergency Border Security Funding Act of 2007”, Texas Senator John Cornyn has once again shown that he values the worst politics ahead of the best interests of Texas and our nation. It calls for at least 700 linear miles of border wall and 300 miles of vehicle barriers along the US – Mexico border, and provides $3 billion dollars to get construction started. This despite the fact that the walls built so far have had not impacted the number of people coming across the border.

In October, speaking to the Border Trade Alliance, Cornyn said, “I have long said that I do not support a fence, or as some said, a wall, between the United States and Mexico. That’s irrational and just doesn’t make sense, because we know that people can come over fences or walls; they can go under them; they can go through them, given sufficient opportunity.”

News from the border bears out Senator Cornyn’s statement. 24 tunnels have been found under just the 14 miles of wall that lie south of San Diego. The number of crossers apprehended there increased by 7% in fiscal 2007, despite the fact that San Diego has the most heavily fortified wall on our southern border. The border wall suffers daily breaches, and crews have been assigned to the never-ending task of fixing holes sliced through the steel walls and filling tunnels. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the annual cost of repairs will reach $8.3 million per mile.

In the Rio Grande Valley, where there currently is no wall, apprehensions of crossers dropped by 34% in fiscal 2007. Rather than analyze their success in Texas and their failure in California, Department of Homeland Security plans to begin construction of 70 miles of wall, which they prefer to call “tactical infrastructure”, in the Rio Grande Valley in the Spring of 2008. It will plow through people’s homes, businesses, farm fields, historic buildings, tracts of the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge, and Texas Parks and Wildlife World Birding Centers.

Once again, Senator Cornyn is talking out of both sides of his mouth. When he visits the border, where people know that a wall will do tremendous damage but no good, he says that he does not support a wall. He says that there should be public input, ignoring the fact that there has been no real public input to date. When he is back in Washington, he panders to far-right xenophobes and sponsors legislation providing $3 billion to build border walls in Texas that he knows won’t work, and that he claims not to support.

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