Resistance to a southern border wall went unhinged this month as opponents attempted to dragoon an imaginary ally, claiming supporters where they don’t exist.
Dredging up a decade-old quote from the Texas Farm Bureau, the activist group Defend Texas insinuated that the TFB opposed the wall on grounds that it violates personal property rights. The site featured a photo of former Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke and his criticism of government efforts to seize private land.
Just one problem: Dierschke wasn’t talking about the wall at all.
In fact, Dierschke was objecting to former Gov. Rick Perry’s proposed trans-Texas corridor. That ill-fated project aimed to build 4,000 miles of toll roads, rail lines and utility corridors across the Lone Star State.
Bureau spokesman Gene Hall said Dierschke’s comments and likeness were used “with reckless disregard” of the facts. “It’s an 11-year-old quote and it has no meaning to the [wall]discussion,” Hall stated in a letter demanding that the post be taken down. TFB has taken no official stand for or against the wall.
Caught in their fabrication, Defend Texas quickly retreated, then lamely asserted that the Farm Bureau’s threat of legal action signaled that the anti-wall crusade is gaining traction.
There’s no evidence of that either. While polling in Texas’s big cities shows mixed reactions to a wall, President Donald Trump’s proposed border barrier remains widely popular among the state’s rural residents, many of whom are members of the Texas Farm Bureau.
Last June, FAIR reported on a Texas rancher whose land abuts the border. He said his property has become unmarketable, due to daily, unimpeded incursions from Mexico.
Likewise, ranchers in southern Arizona say a lack of border security has spawned worsening violence on their lands. Reporting that human smugglers and drug runners easily evade ineffective surveillance equipment installed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the ranchers say stronger border barriers are needed.