bloggin' all things brownsville

Monday, June 30, 2008

Watch UTB-TSC Press Conference After Border Wall Court Appearance Today


Attorneys representing The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College and The University of Texas System Board of Regents will be in U.S. District Court in Brownsville TODAY for a 3 p.m. hearing before U.S. Judge Andrew Hanen.

Last week attorneys for UTB/TSC and UT System filed a motion to compel the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to comply with the provisions of a previous federal court order.
In March 2008, Hanen dismissed a lawsuit against the university after an agreement was reached with DHS regarding access to University property.

That order required DHS to conduct a joint assessment with UTB/TSC and UT System to study alternatives to a physical barrier in the campus area, to take account of UTB/TSC’s “unique status as an institution of higher education” and to “conduct such investigations as will permit it to consult with Defendants in order to minimize the impact of any tactical infrastructure on the environment, culture, commerce and quality of life” on or near UTB/TSC’s property.

“Instead of working under these dictates of the order, they chose to move forward with their original plan to construct the fence in the exact same location and manner as previously announced, and to move to seize our land for a token payment,” President Dr. Juliet V. García said. “We have been disappointed with DHS’s and Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) lack of cooperation as laid out in the order.”

In the motion, the University states the federal government plans to obtain property through eminent domain for the construction of an 18-foot fence. The location of the fence would slice off up to 180 acres of substantial University land, severely curtailing critical and valuable expansion land for the University’s future growth.

“Our intent remains to be concerned preeminently with the safety and security of our students, faculty and staff,” García said. “So, in good faith, we agreed to allow DHS access to our campus and we have been attempting to collaborate fully with representatives from DHS, Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Justice, the International Boundary and Water Commission and the offices of both local and Washington based elected officials.”

The University has made several attempts to work with DHS to conduct joint assessments without success.

“We have invested the equivalent of hundreds of hours of hard work by faculty, staff, administrators and volunteers.” García said. “We have conducted research and gathered information, assisted by some of the best security experts in the country, to seek alternative mechanisms for providing a secure border and safety for our students and university community.”

The federal government filed a lawsuit in January 2008 against UTB/TSC for not signing a right of entry for federal agencies to survey land for the proposed U.S. -Mexico border fence.

Prior to the hearing, the University and the Department of Justice entered into an agreed order which allowed access to the property for surveying, but required joint assessments to determine alternatives to a fence, as well as investigations to minimize the impact of any tactical infrastructure on the environment, culture, commerce, and quality of life.

For more information go to and click on Updated Border Fence Information.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

i must say i really appreciate the fight UTB is putting up against DHS


Monday, June 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see the City Commssioners do the same.

Monday, June 30, 2008  
Blogger Kurgan said...


They probaly bypassed te College because all the mail went to " Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)".

There is no such agency.

Try, Customs and BorderProtection.


Monday, June 30, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

Good catch, Kurgan!

Monday, June 30, 2008  
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

I was hoping to have a report on this after watching the video stream of the press conference, but the video was choppy and cut off after a few minutes. From what I heard, and confirmed in The Herald, Dr. Garcia said she was pleased with Judge Hanen's decision to send the university and the DHS back to negotiations. Dr. Garcia made a good point. She said (paraphrasing) had she thought UTB-TSC was in danger before and needed border protection, she would have been in Washington demanding such years ago. She said a compromise is needed that respects our binationalism.

Monday, June 30, 2008  

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