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OBP005136

From: SELF, JEFFREY D


To: AGUILAR, DAVID V; COLBURN, RONALD S; (b) (6)
Subject: FW: AAR SEN. Cornyn (INTERNAL USE ONLY)
Date: Thursday, October 11, 2007 3:41:10 PM
Attachments: (b) (6)

Additional information on the Levee/Grant issue.

From: VITIELLO, RONALD D


Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:42 AM
To: SELF, JEFFREY D; (b) (6)
Subject: AAR SEN. Cornyn (INTERNAL USE ONLY)

Jeff,

October 10, 2007, Senator John Cornyn, at his request participated in a line tour and
mobile brief directly south of McAllen, Texas. The purpose of the brief and
subsequent round table meeting was to inform the senator of local plans for levee
repair and remediation. The tour was also conducted with Cameron county Judge
Carlos Cascos and Hidalgo Co. Judge J.D. Salinas and IBWC Commissioner Carlos
Marin. Marin has proposed that our requirement for fencing could be incorporated
into a larger governmental project that would satisfy his agencies responsibility for re-
mediating the levee. To that end he provided the Senator a schematic of a proposed
levee design which would provide a substantial foundation to which fencing could be
attached. Senator Cornyn immediately discussed the proposal as favorable and tried
to characterize the issue as a win for valley residents. I explained that the operational
requirements we’ve developed have been informed by our awareness that levee
integrity is not to be disturbed by our ultimate barrier; therefore this proposal needs
more evaluation. Our working model has the fencing set-back (30ft.) north.

(First Impressions)I believe that a higher, wider levee with a pedestrian barrier will be
effective. There is however a trade-off operationally. If the levee is fenced on the
north side our agents will only have high ground southward and be unable to get
behind the levee (northward) unless through access points. Staff is developing a
more comprehensive evaluation of the schematic which we will forward ASAP.

At the public meeting the County Judges and Commissioner Marin, supported by
Hidalgo County’s Drainage Manager gave the Senator a more comprehensive brief
on the conditions of levees and their particular needs for funding and plans. Each of
the Judges spoke directly to the fence (hinting-advocating) that once the levees were
remediated DHS may find that a fence is unnecessary. We do not agree, our fence
requirement will assist us in deterring cross border traffic and expedite our response
to entries. The Senator provided hope to all saying that he believed he (may have
heard) his win-win.

The magnitude of Marin’s proposal, in regards to construction, moving dirt, concrete


etc. is much larger than we’ve contemplated. I can predict it is hugely more
expensive. There are gaps in what Marin needs vs. what we’ve identified. In the brief
OBP005137

and the public forum RGV stayed on message indicating that the only steps
completed in this process/planning is the identification of the operational requirement.
Further steps such as outreach, E.A. and engineering are ongoing and will inform a
final, detailed construction plan. We committed to learning more about Marin’s
proposal and assessing its feasibility.

BOTTOM LINE: Those opposed to fencing could care less whether or not we
combine these projects once we inform them of detailed plans the same
conversations about cultural, economic and environmental impacts will occur.

Follow-Ups
I.O.U. a station level assessment of the “Marin Schematic”
Senator Cornyn stated publicly that Secretary Chertoff would be in the Valley
Soon.
The senator also heard loudly that wait times at area POEs (Hidalgo Mayor
FRANZ) is unacceptable.
U.O. Me a first impression of the schematic’s cost/magnitude and feasibility
(construction).

I have sent this message to Deputy (b) (6) and ACPA (b) (6) , also present at the
mtg. They may add any pertinent items I’ve left out. ACPA (b) (6) will also FWD
this to DHS staff who attended with us. I’m in the O/S all day if you need more
details.

The attachment is Adobe pdf.

Ronald D. Vitiello
Chief Patrol Agent
(b) (6)