[News] Michael Chertoff, Youve Been Sued
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 6 19:46:25 EST 2008
Michael Chertoff, Youve Been Sued
Texas Border Residents Take Homeland Security
Chief to Court Over Land Seizures for Border Wall
By Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr.
Inside the Checkpoints: Commentary from the Rio Grande
February 6, 2008
February is not a good month for Secretary of
Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. He has just
been sued by a team of legal experts headed by
Peter Schey of the Los Angeles based Center for
<http://www.centerforhumanrights.org/>Human Rights and Constitutional Law.
A stretch of the border wall in California.
Chertoff hopes to build a similar one in Texas.
Photos: D.R. 2008 Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr.
When Chertoff began wielding his power to build a
border wall along the US-Mexico border, border
residents knew it was an abuse of his power and
that he was violating human rights and the
Constitution. Finding someone to defend the
owners of property along the border was not easy,
especially when elected officials in highest
offices of the respective states, California,
Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, in concert with
the nationally elected officials, turned their
heads, covered their eyes and failed to protect
the people who elected them to protect them and
their property rights from such abuses of power.
It became even more difficult to level the legal
playing field when the political talk show hosts
in their techno towers referred to border
residents, opponents of the border wall and the
property owners in degrading and demeaning terms.
The federal officials began stalking property
owners to persuade them to grant access to their
private property. They even bullied city and
county officials, using every tactic in the
political play-book. Things changed when Chertoff
began abusing his powers against the property
owners in Texas. A legal team of experienced
professionals has since come together to defend
and protect the human rights and constitutional
rights from such abuse of power.
The law suit is filed by Peter A. Schey, Carlos
Holguin and Dawn Schock of the Center of Human
Rights and Constitutional Law as well as James
Harrington, Abner Burnett and Corinna
Spencer-Scheurick of the South Texas Civil Rights
Project. The lawsuit they filed states that the
plaintiff the United States and Secretary of
Homeland Security Michael Chertoff have acted in
flagrant disregard of the laws of the United
States and obviously are not authorized by the
Constitution or Congress to seize land owned by
cities, private property owners, and land-grant
owners in violation of federal laws. Yet this is
precisely what it appears that they are doing in
their actions to immediately seize ownership of border properties.
What does this mean? This means that Chertoff
knowingly has abused his power over the citizens
of the United States of America. Can a man
legally commit such acts of aggression against US
citizens? Can a man who was not elected by the
people of the United States disregard the
Constitution and the Congress and seize citizens
property? One woman that this legal team is
representing, Eloisa Tamez, PhD in nursing at the
University of Texas, Brownsville, has stood up to
Chertoff and said NO to a man who wields
dictatorial powers over land she owns in Texas.
She says, There is no price tag. This is
something I want to will to my children and to
their children. Incidentally, Chertoff has also
just threatened to file suit against the
University of Brownsville for its refusal to
comply with his demand for access to University
land where the proposed wall would cut off a
major portion of the campus, including a sizeable
chunk of its 18-hole golf course.
Eloisa Tamez inherited a small parcel of acreage
in a small community on the Rio Grande in Texas
called El Calaboz. It is a remnant of land that
was granted to her ancestors by the king of Spain
in the San Pedro de Carricitos Land Grant, of the
Nuevo Santander region that today is known as
South Texas. This land has therefore been in her
family for some 265 years. Even before the land
grant from Spain, Eloisas ancestors, who were
Chiricahua and Lipan Apache, shared these lands.
What the DHS wants to do is build a two-story
border wall through this land, which would
destroy centuries of residential and agricultural
enjoyment. As the legal team states, The
Governments planned seizure and use of Dr.
Tamezs land, as well as the proposed border
fence, would in fact have an adverse impact on
the cultural and quality of life issues mentioned
in the 2008 Budget Act, and on the economic value
of her real property interest, or this opposition
would not be presented even though the Secretary
of Homeland Security is acting unlawfully.
In its defense of her, the lawsuit says that
Secretary Chertoff has proceeded
in a manner that violates federal laws.
While it is true that the Secure Fence Act of
2006 provided for the construction of 700 miles
of border wall, that act was amended by the 2008
Appropriations Act and signed into law on
December 26, 2007. The lawsuit addresses four
changes that the Appropriations Act makes
relative to the issue of constructing the border wall:
* That it replaces the mandate that the
border fence be built in areas specifically
designated by Congress with the requirement that
Secretary Chertoff assess where fencing would be most effective.
* The lawsuit also emphasizes the portion of
the amendment that states that the Secretarys
authority to determine location of the fence is
due to expire on December 31, 2008.
* Requires consultation with the Secretary
of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture,
States, local governments, Indian tribes, and
to minimize the impact on the
environment, culture, commerce, and quality of
life for the communities and residents near the
sites at which such fencing is to be constructed.
shall require the Secretary of
Homeland Security to install fencing, physical
barriers, roads, lighting, cameras and sensors in a particular location
The reality is that Chertoff does not have to
build the wall on anyones land. The reality is
that Chertoff wants to build the wall there. The
reality is that Chertoff does not have the
authority to build the wall on any land without
consulting those affected by it. The reality is
that he has never consulted with those who would
be affected and whose land he is seizing.
Eloisa Tamez in December, attending a DHS open
house to learn more about the wall.
So despite such laws, Chertoff is hell bent on
building the wall before the years end
that is when, under the same Appropriations Act,
Chertoff looses his power over building the wall.
His acts of oppression, his law suits against
private property owners and the City of Eagle
Pass, and the seizure of their lands shows that
he is outside the law and outside the authority that has been given him.
It is a pity that sincere hardworking citizens
have to fight the abusiveness of their own
government in order to protect their rights.
Whats worse is that they are forced to defend
themselves against the very agency that was set
up to protect citizens from terrorism, an agency
that is causing more terror in the lives of such
Americans then theyve ever experienced before.
One such woman, Dr. Eloisa Tames, finds herself
in such an abusive situation. A victim of the
dictatorial powers of Chertoff, she finds herself
having to go to court tomorrow to defend her
small parcel of land. This honest, hardworking
woman and her small 1.04-acre tract of land that
has been in her family, is big enough to prove
that she is not more secure under Chertoffs
homeland security, but more terrorized.
As the lawsuit well delineates, Chertoff is not
mandated to build an iron curtain through Eloisa
Tamezs land that has been in her family for at
least 265 years. Yet, in his rush to seize her
property by the years end, when he looses his
authority, he is forcing her to defend her land
now. In his haste, the threatening legal notice
that he sent her stating that she would be sued
if she did not relinquish the property did not
even have the propertys correct legal description.
Eloisa Tamez, along with hundreds of others, has
been a victim of trauma, tyranny and
one in government has stepped up to protect
Eloisa, to right the wrongs being leveled on her
and her property. So much for security in her
homeland! It has taken the volunteer efforts of
fellow citizens and a willing team of legal
experts to stand with her in her fight against a
form of terrorism from which she is not otherwise
being protected, a terrorism that originates from
one man. The secretary of Homeland Security,
Michael Chertoff! He has just been sued.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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