The Texas-Mexico Border Situation
Much of the news about South Texas, lately, has been about the Border Crisis, which the Biden administration refuses to acknowledge without qualification. When pressed about it, they reluctantly admit the problem and claim that it is a problem inherited from the prior administration.
Besides the political and humanitarian disaster that the border region is facing, there are practical concerns as well. The border crisis brings with it an economic impact, a security threat, and a safety threat.
The economic impact is largely that border towns are largely low-income communities. Having large immigrant populations coming through places a strain on local resources. The immigrants need to be fed and sheltered. They require health care. And, the children need education. Much of this is required for a population with no legal status, making them incapable of working and paying taxes to fund such services. It helps that there are economic assistance programs by the federal government. However, these mostly help the agencies themselves deal with their costs. They often do not include assistance for the communities footing the bill.
The security threat consists of having some dangerous people coming over the border. Many already have a criminal history in the USA. Others have ties with gangs. But, even the lower-level criminals are a security threat. Coyotes who will transport immigrants will often lead Border Patrol or police on high speed chases that result in wrecks that kill or injure. There is utter disregard for the security of the public.
Another practical issue is one of safety. South Texas, for example, has a system of levees and floodways built to divert flood water from the Rio Grande. The system has been in place for decades until construction of the border wall, which required some reengineering. Once Biden became President, he ordered a halt to construction. The end result is that there are sections of the border wall and the levees that are unfinished. If there is a heavy tropical storm or hurricane this year, it could result in disastrous flooding in areas that were once protected. Construction of the wall has resumed to some degree to "close gaps" in the wall. However, it is unclear whether this will also include repairs to the flood control systems that were altered and left unfinished.
Our concerns regarding the Border Crisis here in South Texas are more than the political and humanitarian impact. It is more than just the optics. The Border Crisis has tangible impacts on the communities along the border. Failure to address these matters, or drawn out procedures, pose a threat to our safety and security.