Opposition to fencing parts of the southern U.S. border is coming from a surprising source: Texas residents, according to Brian Zimmer, president of the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License.
"Texas has a very large number of people of Mexican extraction. They may have been in Texas for five generations, but they've gone back and forth across the border comfortably just driving across,'' Zimmer said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show'' on Newsmax TV.
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"Also, Texas is flat except for some mountainous regions in the southernmost part of Texas. It's mostly defined by the Rio Grande river valley. That's been flat, open, pastoral country with people moving back and forth.
"In general, prior to building the fences, there was not that much illegal traffic through Texas in terms of now people form Central America.''
Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma has been pushing for the Secure Fence Act of 2006 to be enforced.
Signed by former President George W. Bush, the law approved the construction of a long stretch of fence along the southern border, as well as more checkpoints, cameras, vehicle barriers, and lighting to catch undocumented immigrants.
But Zimmer says the idea of fences protecting the nation's borders still remains "a very new idea'' for Americans.
"We've had relatively open borders with our two neighboring countries for more than 100 years,'' he said.
"There have been many business and political reasons not to build fences on our borders."
Zimmer said about 690 miles of fencing has been erected thus far, but added that there are already calls for more.
"The fence bill did not specify what kind of fence should be built. Most of it is single strand,'' he said.
"The border patrol, in their informal advisories to Congress, advises that we'd be much better off building a double strand with a road in-between, which is what exists in San Diego and also at El Paso.
"However, it is a very substantial single strand fence. The posts are buried six feet in the ground and there is three feet of concrete under most of it. You'd have to go down a long way to tunnel under this.''
Zimmer's comments follow last Tuesday's Newsmax TV interview with Rep. Ted Poe
on "The Steve Malzberg Show.
Poe said weak border security, which allows legions of illegal immigrants to sneak into the United States, is also an open invitation to terrorists and criminal masterminds from around the world.
"Anybody can come. All the criminals who want to come into the United States, terrorists, just old-fashioned criminals,'' Poe, a Texas Republican, told Malzberg.
"The word is out the border is not secure. The door is open to everyone, and we're going to find out probably that some bad folks came into the United States because they just walk across the border.''
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