For immediate release
Federal Judge Orders Formal Substantive Discussions
Click here for video of post press conference.
Click here for Order Regarding Hearing of June 30, 2008.
BROWNSVILLE, TX – JUNE 30, 2008- Brownsville Federal Judge Andrew Hanen ordered representatives from The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College and The University of Texas System and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue jointly assess alternatives to a border fence as mandated by the previous agreement in March.
Hanen gave the University and U.S. government officials until Thursday, July 31 to continue the joint assessment and report back to the court.
“I do think a joint assessment means sitting down with people in the same room with authority and expertise to exchange ideas, Hanen said. “I urge both sides to try to work with each other, ultimately benefiting both sides. It seems it cries out for a solution.
Garcia said she was satisfied with the judges ruling that was prompted by a motion filed by attorneys for UTB/TSC and UT System asking the federal court to compel the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to comply with the provisions of a previous federal court order on March 19.
“We are very pleased with the judge’s decision, Garcia said after the hearing. “He’s taking the time to try to ensure the law is respected and a true interpretation of the settlement is met. We will go back and sit down and continue to respectfully discuss the matter.
The motion filed by the University stated that federal government officials failed to comply with the joint assessment of alternatives outlined in the agreement adopted and ordered by Hanen in March.
It also stated that the federal government planned to obtain property through eminent domain for the construction of the 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.
In March 2008, Hanen dismissed a lawsuit against the university after an agreed settlement was reached with DHS regarding access to University property.
Both sides 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.
The federal government had 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.