March 2023

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 30, 2008

Inside the Checkpoints: Border Walls, Texas Shame

Inside the Checkpoints
July 30, 2008
Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr.
Photos at:

Border Walls…Texas Shame
A congressionally backed dictator has begun to violate Texas soil.
Shame on the dictator! Shame on the Congress! Shame on Texas! Shame on all of us!
How is it possible that a hurricane can come into the Rio Grande Valley…providing a “Wake Up Call” to the region, the State of Texas and the Federal Government…and all the above do nothing to wake the hell up?
After nearly two years of public protest and outcry, border wall construction on the levies in Granjeno, south of Mission, Texas, quietly got under way a couple of weeks ago. And, during hurricane season at that. An alarmingly quiet local media. There was no outrage on the part of any of our elected officials.
With the exception of the Texas Border Coalition, there are still no organized attempts on the part of elected officials, from county Commissioners to Congressmen, to halt the heinous invasive construction of the border wall during this hurricane season. As a result, Border Ambassadors announced on July 18 that a group of grassroots citizens would hold an all-faiths prayer vigil in Granjeno on July 27.
The thinking, conviction and discussion of this diversified group of American citizens was simple. It was spawned by Dinah Bear, a leading environmental attorney from the Washington Beltway, who has dedicated her time, energy and resources to stop the border wall construction. If there is no political force on the planet to stop the congressionally backed dictatorial powers of DHS and Chertoff from building the border wall, maybe “a miracle”, a “wake up call”, like an “Act of God”…like a hurricane coming up the Rio Grande Valley…would catch the attention of Commissioners to Congressmen to stop the insanity of building a border wall on levies during hurricane season.
Within the five days of the Prayer Vigil announcement, and four days before the planned prayer vigil itself, an unexpected tropical storm hit the news, came unexpectedly across the Yucatan and the rest is undeniable history. Hurricane Dolly slammed the Rio Grande Valley. “The Monitor” headlined the impact of Dolly as “A Wake Up Call”. Yeah, well…who the hell did it wake up? It didn’t even wake up the Monitor!
Despite the devastation, about 50 border residents from Brownsville to Del Rio met in Granjeno Sunday afternoon on July 27th. Driving into Granjeno, to the shock of all present, cranes and heavy equipment were building the border wall on the Granjeno levy! Did anyone in position of authority learn from the “wake up call”?
Evidently, a couple of days before Dolly’s landfall, IBWC Commissioner, Carlos Marin ordered a halt to the border wall construction of the levy in Granjeno. Yet, only two days after Dolly slammed into the Rio Grande Valley, construction on the border wall levy in Granjeno was again under way. Does that sound like the IBWC paid attention to the “wake up call”? How about the Army Corps of Engineers?
After the prayer vigil by a buffet of religious diversity, those present felt that something urgent needed to be done. “Faith without works is dead”. So a caravan of several dozen automobiles drove a quarter mile east to the border wall construction site. There, the citizens that participated in the prayer vigil, walked up to the levy, observed the beginnings of the border wall and then respectfully listened to a special prayer presented by Father Roy Snipes of Mission, TX.
It was a small peaceful protest, and it was the consensus that it was not the right time to commit any acts of civil disobedience. That trump card will be played at the right time…on another day.
(You can see pictures that were taken on Sunday, July 27, 2008 here: )
Imagine! While there was no federal funding to shore up the levies before hurricane season, there seems to be surplus money to build a border wall on the very same levies. While there was not enough help to drain areas flooded by Dolly, construction commenced on the levy in Granjeno.
It is shocking that even an “Act of God” is not enough of a “wake up call” to teach County Commissioners, Congressmen, IBWC, the Army Corps of Engineers, DHS, Chertoff, Governor Perry or even the President of the United States, that you should not be cutting into levies in the Rio Grande Valley during hurricane season.
America does not need a dictator. Yet Congress abnegated its power and ceded it to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Shame on Chertoff, an arrogant and callous liar, for accepting that dictatorial power and for his complicity of violating the Constitution.
Shame on Congress for abnegating and ceding its Constitutional powers to a dictator…and for not having the courage to take it back.
Shame on the Supreme Court for not hearing the Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club lawsuit challenging the unconstitutionality of the waiver power given to Chertoff. Certain dedicated Americans are going to continue to push forward to the Supreme Court over such a violation of the Constitution.
Shame on the Texas Legislature and the Governor for not defending and protecting our borders. They would rather protect their right to execute foreign prisoners than to defend millions of hardworking Texans who live on the border.
In the mean time…shame on our dishonest Senators…Cornyn and Bailey-Hutchison…who said they wouldn’t vote for the border wall…and then did.
Shame on our Texas Congressmen for not putting up a solid fight to protect our border community in Congress and for letting the racist supremacists hold serve.
Shame on us…too! We have not done even 1% of what “We the People of the United States” should be doing to stop the totalitarian tyranny and protect our beloved borderlands.
A grotesque border wall was built in California. A grotesque border wall was built in Arizona. A grotesque border wall has been built in New Mexico. Yet, those three states only represent 35% of the entire US-Mexico border. Texas constitutes 65% of the border. We are a community of solidaridad y amistad. We have had every chance to stop this border wall. Yet, a grotesque border wall is now being constructed in Granjeno. As folks went to the prayer vigil in Granjeno, Highway 83 Expressway, it was noticed that the shopping centers and restaurants were quite busy. Shame on us!
Shame on us, if we who are adults allow this border wall to be built on Texas soil. Shame on us if we leave our children and grandchildren with the $100,000,000,000 of borrowed money that it is taking to build this symbol of cruelty and inhumanity.
Shame on us if we leave a border wall “from Sea to Shining Sea”…from the Pacific coast to the Gulf coast…to have to be torn down by some future generation…perhaps that of our grandchildren. What will they think of us…knowing we could have stopped this travesty in the first place…if we but had the moral fiber…and the courage to stand up against oppressive tyranny? Will our children and grandchildren be like the German people of today as they look back at the cowardice shown in the face of a dictatorship and the culture of fear and cruelty towards fellow humans of the fascist era?
While this is an American shame…this is especially a Texas Shame. Texas could have stopped this from happening.
Ahhh! But we still can!!!

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