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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 (www.riosouthtexas.com 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, (www.valleychamber.com)
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."
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.