Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Abuse of Power


I wish this were an April Fools Day joke, but it’s not.

Today, the Bush/Cheney Administration announced that it will waive environmental and land management laws along 470 miles of the U.S./Mexico border in order to build the Texas/Mexico Wall.

Laws ensuring clean water for us and our children? Dismissed.

Laws protecting wildlife, land, rivers, streams and places of cultural significance? Disregarded.

And laws giving American citizens a voice in the process? Gone.

Clearly, this Border Wall project has gotten out of control.

Please call your U.S. Representative and Senators at the phone numbers provided below:

Ruben E. Hinojosa - (202) 225-2531 or (956) 682-5545 (local)

John Cornyn III - (202) 224-2934 or (512) 469-6034 (local)

Kay Bailey Hutchison - (202) 224-5922 or (512) 916-5834 (local)

Once you are connected, please deliver the following simple message:

“My name is __________ . I am calling from ________, TX, to voice my shock and outrage about the announcement that all of the important environmental and land use laws along 470 miles of the U.S./Mexico border will be totally disregarded in order to complete construction of a 'Berlin Type Wall' along our Texas/Mexico border.

This flagrant abuse of power threatens our border communities and wildlife. and I urge you to do EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER to challenge this awful decision.”

My Dear Friends,
We simply can not allow our Government to unilaterally disregard laws that were designed to protect the health and safety of our families and communities and to preserve America's Wildlife and environment for our future generations.

Please join me in attempting to stop this process.
Thank you for your participation,

Press Release from the No Border Wall Coalition

April 1, 2008
Contact: Scott Nicol, (956) 532-5983

No Border Wall Coalition: Chertoff’s Border Wall Waiver is an Assault on the Rule of Law

The No Border Wall Coalition is deeply disturbed by the announcement that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has decided to “waive in their entirety” 36 federal laws to build walls along the United States’ southern border. This represents an unprecedented abuse of authority on Secretary Chertoff’s part, and clearly demonstrates the need for an immediate repeal of section 102 of the Real ID Act. Obeying the law is not voluntary, it is mandatory, and Secretary Chertoff cannot claim that he is sweeping aside a host of laws on the border in defense of immigration laws. In a nation of laws all laws must be respected, not just those that are convenient.

Equal protection under the law is meant to be a fundamental right shared by every American, but the Real ID Act makes the legal rights of citizens who live near the border conditional on Secretary Chertoff’s whims. Section 102 of the Real ID Act of 2005 states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.” No one else is granted this extreme power under any circumstance. The president cannot waive our nation’s laws even in times of national crisis, and Secretary Chertoff cannot waive the laws that protect citizens who live away from the border. Only border residents may have their legal protections waived.

The only reason for Secretary Chertoff to waive these laws is because he knows that the border wall will violate them. In setting these 36 federal laws aside Secretary Chertoff sets himself above the law. If congress allows unchecked power to remain in the hands of an unelected administration appointee they are complicit in fundamentally undermining the rule of law. Leaving the Real ID Act on the books and allowing Chertoff’s waivers to stand sets a precedent that should outrage the American people. If our nation’s laws can be set aside to build a border wall today, they may be similarly set aside for whatever crisis politicians discover in the next
election cycle.

The No Border Wall coalition calls on Congress to repeal section 102 of the Real ID Act and restore the rule of law. We also urge the Supreme Court to take up the constitutional challenge brought by the Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club to Secretary Chertoff’s earlier waiver of 19 federal laws to force the border wall through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona. Allowing one man to overrule laws passed by Congress and signed by the President for the express intent of circumventing judicial oversight is fundamentally un-American.
# # #

No Border Wall is a grassroots coalition of groups and individuals united in the belief that a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will do irreparable harm to our borderlands and the nation as a whole. No Border Wall is opposed to the construction of a border wall because of the devastating consequences such a wall would have on border economies, on the environment, on human rights, and on the U.S. relationship with Mexico and the rest of the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your readers may also want to call Hidalgo County Judge, J.D.Salinas' office to have him explain his position on this