For Immediate Release
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UTB/TSC, Homeland Security Reach Agreement on Border Fence
BROWNSVILLE, TX- JULY 31, 2008 – The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (DHS/CBP) reached an agreement today (July 31) that ends all court proceedings between the parties. DHS/CBP has agreed to end condemnation actions against UTB/TSC, effectively allowing UTB/TSC to retain ownership over all its property.
As part of the agreement, UTB/TSC would enhance campus security in two ways. University-owned fencing adjacent to the levee would be augmented to a height of 10 feet and upgraded with high-tech devices. The current fence varies between six feet and eight feet. The enhancements to UTB/TSC’s perimeter security, at the university’s expense, would complement methods already in use on the campus.
UTB/TSC President Juliet Garcia praised the hard work of all parties. "This agreement demonstrates the hard work and good faith that were brought forth when the parties finally sat down at the table and talked about what solution would best serve the mutual interests," Garcia said. "I am particularly pleased at what this agreement means for our educational mission and the continued safety of our students."
The agreement also would allow UTB/TSC more room for capital construction and expansion on the land and the federal agencies would support the university’s long-term efforts to move and enhance a flood control levee to the edge of the Rio Grande.
At the core of the agreement, UTB/TSC and DHS/CBP would collaborate in the establishment of a center to study border issues including security. It would examine, among other elements, the use of technology for securing the border. The UTB/TSC campus southern perimeter will be part of a laboratory for testing new technology and infrastructure combinations.
"We are gratified that these public entities representing local, state and federal interests have arrived at an amicable solution that preserves UTB/TSC campus life while enhancing border security for the nation," said Barry D. Burgdorf, the vice chancellor and general counsel for the University of Texas System.