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A Homeland Security initiative to put fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border could discriminate against minorities, according to an Obama-appointed federal judge who’s ruled that the congressionally-approved project may have a “disparate impact on lower-income minority communities.” This of course means that protecting the porous—and increasingly violent—southern border is politically incorrect. At least that’s what the public college professor at the center of the case is working to prove and this month she got help from a sympathetic federal judge. Denise Gilman, a clinical professor at the taxpayer-funded University of Texas-Austin, is researching the “human rights impact” of erecting a barrier to protect the U.S. from terrorists, illegal immigrants, drug traffickers and other serious threats.
Judge Beryl Howell, appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by President Obama in 2010, agreed that the public interest is significant. Her 37-page ruling also seems to indicate that she bought the discrimination argument. “Revealing the identities of landowners in the wall’s planned construction site may shed light on the impact on indigenous communities, the disparate impact on lower-income minority communities, and the practices of private contractors,” Howell wrote. This is simply the latest controversy to strike the border fence project since Congress approved it to protect national security and curb an illegal immigration and drug-trafficking crisis. In the last few years the mayors of several Texas border towns have blocked federal access to areas where the fence is scheduled to be built, an Indian tribe tried to block the barrier in the Arizona desert by claiming the feds were intruding on tribal land and a group of government scientists claimed the fencing would threaten the black bear population.