Thursday, September 10, 2009

Border mayors want Congress to strip a fence provision out of a spending bill for border security

WASHINGTON — A group of elected officials from Texas cities and counties along the U.S.-Mexico border urged Congress on Wednesday to strip a provision requiring the building of more border fencing from an annual spending bill.

The Texas Border Coalition wants a House-Senate conference committee to remove language from the spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would require the government to replace vehicle barriers and a high-technology “virtual fence” with pedestrian fencing.

Eagle Pass Mayor Chad Foster, the coalition's chairman, said the current fence, at a cost of $3.5 billion, has only forced narcotics traffickers and smugglers of undocumented immigrants to develop counterstrategies to move contraband and people into the United States.

With the recent building of some pedestrian fence, Foster said narco-traffickers and smugglers now are shifting their focus to busy land ports.

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