HispanicVista Columnists

Oh yes, Congressman Duncan Hunter is that disingenuous.

By Patrick Osio, Jr


It would take the most incredibly nave and gullible persons to believe Congressman Duncan Hunters assertion that building 3.5-miles of fence along the US-Mexico border will stop terrorist infiltrations and illegal immigrants from entering the country. His argument is so grossly devoid of any logic or intelligent reasoning as to make one wonder whether the Congressman has a hidden agenda when he inserted it into the REAL ID Act (H.R. 418) approved by the House and now pending in the Senate.


Hunter is a shrewd politician coming across as the ultimate patriot. He is a zealot conservative Republican who treats Mexico as part of the evil empire though he is careful not to use politically incorrect words. If he could build a fence the length of the border, he would; if he could deploy troops along the border, he would; if he could stop all Mexicans from crossing the border, he would. And this I believe is his ultimate goal.


A close second to Hunters dislike for Mexico/Mexicans is his abhorrence to environmental protection regulations. Time and again, year in and year out during his 23-years in Congress, Hunter has voted against any legislation that promotes preservation of aquatic ecosystems, forests, grassland, preservation of biological diversity and watershed integrity. The Sierra Club and other environmental organizations have given Hunter a zero on his Congressional voting record on environmental issues.


This is important to know about Hunter because it plays a major role in his 3.5-mile border fence scheme.


In the early 1990s, Hunter conceived the idea that erecting a fence from the Pacific Ocean shores running east to the foothills of San Diegos Otay Mountains to keep illegal immigrants from entering San Diego. Immigration experts, most notably Wayne Cornelious of the University of California at San Diego, advised that the fence would simply route them to another crossing point.


Hunter ignored the advice and convinced enough of his fellow peers to fund his fence. In 1993, a 14-mile, 10-foot-tall welded steel fence was built. The experts predictions came true, but to Hunter it was because a second parallel fence was needed.  So a 14-foot-tall fence was erected running parallel to the first fence with a 130-foot buffer zone in between.


However, the most westerly 3.5-mile section of the second fence was not completed because it would infringe and severely damage one of the nations premier wetlands smothering the Tijuana River National Estuarine Sanctuary at the mouth of the Pacific Ocean with silt due to the massive grading to fill gorges and canyons along the fences pathway, buffer zone and new roads along the fence.


The first fence reduced illegal entries dramatically, but also increased them dramatically along previously not used crossing points. The second fence further reduced entries along its path, but further increased entries in other points.


Hunter must have figured the problem was the need for more fencing, because he began pushing for a third fence further back and parallel to the first two. However, he claims these fences wont work unless the 3.5-mile missing link is built.


In 1993, there was no talk about terrorists infiltrators; it was simply Mexican illegal immigrants. But now, Hunter has introduced terrorist to drive fear into the minds and hearts of Americans. So under National Security to stop terrorists we must build the last 3.5-miles and then proceed with the third fence, with lights and sensors, and whatever else is needed to protect the nation.


But environmentalists and environmental regulations stand in the way so Hunter included in HR 418 waving state and federal environmental regulations and denying usage of any court to attempt to overturn the construction. Clearly, job-seeking illegal immigrants do not pose a terrorist threat, so Hunter has been unable to have environmental regulations waived for his fence. But now, "We need to get this thing done, and we need to do it for security reasons" Hunter was quoted.


The most alarming part of Hunters scheme in the name of National Security HR 418 establishes legislative precedent to a multitude of other dubious national security projects to be exempt from environmental scrutiny such as drilling for oil off the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts, natural gas in the Sierra Madres and coal mining in national forests.


It will also set the stage for finishing the US-Mexico border triple-fences by adding 1986-miles to the 14-miles.


Patrick Osio, Jr. is Editor of HispanicVista.com (www.hispanicvista.com). Contact at PosioJr@hispanicvista.com