President Bush will be in New Orleans today for his final summit with Mexican president Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The main focus is NAFTA. But free trade isn’t the only thing on Calderon’s mind. He’ll be meeting in the US with shamnesty peddlers and immigration enforcement saboteurs in Dallas, as they prepare for another round of massive May Day illegal alien rallies to protest workplace enforcement actions, enforcement of deportation orders against hundreds of thousands of fugitive absconders, and enforcement of every other immigration rule and requirement. This is his top agenda:
In his first trip to Texas as president, Mexico’s Felipe Calderon will make a brief stop in Dallas on Tuesday to talk about an issue that has become more and more contentious in recent months — immigration.
Calderon will appear at a conference of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, a 125-member advisory council formed by the Mexican government in 2003 to strengthen ties between Mexico and its sons and daughters working in other countries.
It will be only the second time that the group, which meets twice a year, will meet in the U.S. The first was in Atlanta in 2004.
“The Mexican government believes that protection assistance programs for Mexicans in the United States should be strengthened continuously, and Texas, as the second-largest state with Mexicans, represents the ideal geographic place for these programs,” said a spokeswoman for Calderon. She added that the president believes it’s important “to personally connect with Mexicans who live and work in Texas.”
Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert invited Calderon to Dallas during a January trade mission to Monterrey, Mexico. Leppert called Dallas a “culturally diverse city with a strong Hispanic presence.”
Other cities in the region, including Farmers Branch and Irving, have generated controversy by taking strong stands and implementing policies against illegal immigration.
For his part, Calderon has criticized the “growing harassment” of Mexicans in the United States.
You’ll recall that while GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo and California GOP state legislator Tom McClintock challenged Calderon’s scathing criticism in February, President Bush had nothing to say. In fact, as Calderon persists in badmouthing the U.S., Bush will be moving forward with the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative at the summit today, which will help bolster Mexico’s southern border fence and fund their surveillance tools.
How’s our own fence doing? Well, you may recall that on April Fools’ Day, DHS trumpeted its decision to exercise its waiver authority to expedite construction of the fence along the southern border. Many folks took it as a hopeful sign that the administration was getting serious about homeland security. I did not join the cheering. The dog-and-pony charade is too familiar.
Now, we learn–as I expected–that those environmental waivers were waivers in name only for the still-unbuilt fence in name only:
Earlier this month, however, the Bush administration waived more than 30 environmental and land-management laws to meet its deadline for building at least 360 miles of the border fence. Two advocacy groups, the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife, have gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the authority that Congress gave the administration to set aside federally required environmental reviews.
Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said that despite the waivers, the agency has prepared draft environmental assessments or impact statements for much of the fence — which will be composed of metal, concrete or wire along different stretches — and that officials will continue to explore ways to mitigate its effect on vulnerable wildlife.
“Just because we’re using this waiver authority doesn’t mean we’ve not been mindful of our obligation to be stewards of the environment,” she said in an interview. “For a number of miles, we’ve determined that it would have only insignificant impact.”
Kudwa could not specify which areas would feel the greatest effects from the barrier, but she said Homeland Security is negotiating to give the Fish and Wildlife Service $800,000 to mitigate the wall’s impact on the Sonoran pronghorn and the long-nose bat in the Cabeza Prieta refuge, even though DHS has waived its obligation to comply with Endangered Species Act requirements there.
Meantime, a bunch of scientists who put ocelots above national security are threatening to throw themselves in front of bulldozers:
“This wall is so asinine, and so wrong, I am one of a dozen scientists ready to lay our bodies down in front of tractors,” Healy Hamilton, who directs the Center for Biodiversity Research and Information at the California Academy of Sciences, told colleagues at a recent scientific retreat here. “This is one thing we might be able to stop.”
“Make it 13!” said Allison Jones, a conservation biologist at the Wild Utah Project, an advocacy group.
Hamilton and Jones have yet to throw themselves before bulldozers, but their call to arms reflects the researchers’ growing fears that the wall will imperil species that, in Hamilton’s words, “walk, fly or crawl across that border.”
DHS’s fence construction authority sunsets 12/31/08.
The open-borders lobby knows it can do what it has always taught its law-evaders to do:
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