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Welcome, tourists

10 July 2007

I can’t take ALL the credit (I probably can’t even take one percent of the credit), but I see we’re finally getting people to actually take a look at the borderlands, instead of just mouthing off…

Dos Centavos reports that Congressman David Price of North Carolina came down

to see the detention center (in Hutto, where immigrant families are being held), and border defense, and what form that’s going to take.”

The detention center question is easy: Close it down! Not only have we built a concentration camp that compares to the Japanese sites we had during WWII in South Texas, we are handing millions of dollars to a company (Corrections Corporation of America) who is known for ineffectiveness in corrections and mismanagment, not to mention low-quality inmate health care–a threat, especially to the children being held.

The view on the fence in South Texas is clear: No Fence!

Price conceded that while a border fence is favored in his own district, what seemed like a practical solution in non-border states — and inside the Beltway — could create significant problems where they are built.

Alfredo Corchado of the Dallas Morning News  took a road trip out to the Big Bend…

In Presidio, the Bishop family once harvested 2,000 acres of land, growing onions and cantaloupes with the help of Mexican migrants. But stricter immigration policies have contributed to a diminished workforce and, by extension, production.

They’re decidedly against fences.

“We’re Texans,” farmer Terry Bishop says. “Here, even the cattle go across and come back.”

Adds his father, Bill Bishop: “This part of the world, everybody is related to everybody else, and everybody is related to everyone on the other side of the border and share a common language.”

Down the road, locals still recall fondly the funeral of Boyd Chambers, who raised cattle for more than 50 years in the area. Mr. Chambers employed Mexican workers.

Upon his death five years ago, Mexicans crossed the river illegally and helped dig his grave. They flocked to his funeral where Border Patrol agent-in-charge Simon Garza, a Mormon, presided.

After the service, the workers helped Mr. Chamber’s sons bury the rancher near Candelaria.

“The outpouring of support was overwhelming,” recalled a teary-eyed Teresa Chambers, a teacher in Presidio. “Dad would have been so proud.”

As the nation turns to securing its southern border, the Chambers decry what they call the government’s “my way, or the highway approach,” says Johnnie Chambers, who as a child played with her friends on both sides of the border. “We should go back to where we were, where both sides did our own community policing.”

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