Brownsville and DHS Agree on Border Fence

UT campus will enhance existing fence, while government will pay for cameras.

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An agreement that was reached Thursday between the Department of Homeland Security and the University of Texas-Brownsville will halt construction of a border fence that cuts the school's golf course off from the rest of the campus, the Daily Texan reports. The agreement, which was reached in federal court and ends a nearly yearlong dispute, stipulates the university will pay for enhancements such as raising an existing fence from its current 6- to 8-foot height to a standard of 10 feet, while DHS will fund security cameras and other technology. The cost to the school will be less than $1 million, an official estimates.

As part of the deal, the university will open a center to study border issues. The center, to be funded by external grants, will discuss alternatives to fences and bring in experts from the field.

The road to the agreement was hardly smooth and began when the UT-Brownsville president denied DHS access to survey campus grounds, citing concerns over the environment, the school's educational mission, and its cross-cultural relations with Mexico. DHS brought a federal lawsuit against the university. In March, a judge ordered the two sides to meet for a joint assessment of barrier alternatives.