Tuesday, March 29, 2005 | The chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and three Southern California congressmen hope to draw attention to San Diego’s border with Mexico on Tuesday by showing the public a section of the boundary where they believe a bulked-up border fence’s security benefits would outweigh its environmental risks.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., will use the Tijuana River Valley photo-op to rally support for an immigration bill he authored that would complete construction on a 14-mile fence after the California Coastal Commission – the state board appointed to monitor development along the coast – halted the project last February, citing environmental concerns.
The House members are hoping the public will see the purported holes in the nation’s security in the comfort of their living room after leading camera crews down to the project’s site this afternoon.
Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, Duke Cunningham, R-Escondido, and Ed Royce, R-Orange County, are co-sponsors of the bill and will hold the press conference with Sensenbrenner.
Their bill, known as the Real ID Act, was inserted into a spending bill the House passed last month. If approved by the Senate and signed by President Bush, construction on the project’s remaining 3.5 miles will override any environmental regulations that would otherwise stand in the way of its completion.
The project’s opponents, like Rep. Bob Filner, D-Chula Vista, interpret the bill’s wording to sound like construction would not just override environmental regulations, but any regulations.