Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Texas - Border Communities Urge Washington to Provide More Resources to Deal with Humanitarian Crisis

Economic development corporations and public entities of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) of Texas are asking the federal government to increase humanitarian resources on the border to manage an unprecedented increase of unaccompanied minors and refugees from Central America and Mexico. According to public figures from the U.S. Border Patrol, McAllen sector, about 1300 illegal immigrants are detained every day and more than a third of them are often unaccompanied minors. Facilities to hold, process, and return undocumented individuals are being overwhelmed by the recent surge.

"Our public servants in the Rio Grande Valley that are working for the federal agencies need more help," said Eduardo Campirano, Chairman of the Rio South Texas Economic Council ( RSTEC.) "The people we see crossing now appear to be refugees from Central America and Mexico and sound like they are running for their lives. The fact that such a high percentage of them are children and are not from Mexico is an indication there is a critical situation that requires an immediate response." 

The crisis is mostly invisible to residents of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and the rest of the U.S. but there is no indication the number of people coming north will diminish. RSTEC members are optimistic Washington officials will continue to deploy increasing capabilities to manage the problem on the border. A few analysts have suggested immigrants are racing to the U.S. border hoping to achieve amnesty under potential new immigration regulations expected from Congress. Federal law requires the children be given refugee status if no American relative can be located but the number of minors has gotten so large that they are now being processed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

"Valley residents find the situation to be heartbreaking," said Julian Alvarez of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, ( a RSTEC member organization. "Our communities are thriving with jobs and prosperity while our neighbors are suffering from problems that are so great that children, as young as three years old, have their lives at great risk trying to get into America. We hope the governments of our countries can work together to resolve these problems, very quickly."

McAllen, which has had a significant portion of recent immigration arrests, continues to be rated among the most secure cities in the U.S., according to FBI statistics. The geographic proximity to the problems in Mexico and Central America have had no discernible impact on the Rio Grande Valley. The cost of living in the region continues to be almost 40 percent lower than Chicago with an unemployment rate about half of the national average. 

About RSTEC: An alliance of economic development corporations, public entities, and businesses, RSTEC seeks to foster a thriving economy, educational opportunities, and improved quality of life by promoting the Rio Grande Valley and attracting growth businesses to the border region to take advantage of an educated work force and international markets.

SOURCE Rio South Texas Economic Council


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