From filmmaker Kieran Fitzgerald
In October 2006, the Bush administration signed the Secure Fence Act, allowing for the construction of over 700 miles of reinforced fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. Although public opinion across the nation overwhelmingly favors the construction of the wall, many communities on the border, particularly along the Rio Grande in Texas, have vehemently protested the act. Much of the protests center on critical environmental concerns largely ignored by the Department of Homeland Security. Some 32 environmental laws have been “waived in their entirety” by Secretary Chertoff including the Coastal Zone Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. (For a complete list, see Brenda Norrell’s Censored News blog.)
Several civil action lawsuits have been filed against the Department of Homeland Security by Texas residents who have seen their land appropriated by the government for the construction of the wall. Details of one such case, “U.S. Customs Border Patrol v. Eloisa Garcia Tamez” can be followed at the Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength blog. More protests along the Rio Grande have been scheduled later this year from August through November to bring this important issue into the context of the U.S. presidential election. For a full updated calendar of events, see the No Texas Border Wall campaign website.
While not directly affected by the Secure Fence Act, many residents of Redford, Texas including historian and archaeologist, Enrique Madrid, are greatly involved in the growing community protests against the wall. Life for most people along the Texas-Mexico border has become progressively more difficult in the past several years as small river crossings were closed, separating families who live on both sides of the border, and surveillance of communities along the border has grown as an increasing number of U.S. Border Patrol agents are added each year.
Esequiel’s parents live in the same house in which Esequiel, Jr. was raised, and still farm their land in Redford. But because of a depressed local economy with few job possibilities, many of Esequiel’s siblings are forced to work in the oilfields of Odessa, some four hours north of Redford. His eldest brother, Margarito, still works as a deputy sheriff for the City of Presidio.