Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Local News > Southwest > Texas Border Residents Gear Up for Binational Protest

Texas Border Residents Gear Up for Binational Protest

LatinaLista — Mention homeland security and the immediate argument has been to “secure our borders.” The implication is always the U.S/Mexico border. Somehow we’ve allowed the mindset that scary people, aka terrorists, don’t come from Canada.
That perception is further enforced by the Minute Man vigilantes and politicians like CA-Republican presidential candidate, Duncan Hunter, who has taken credit for the building of the fence in San Diego and is pressing for it to be finished across the rest of the U.S./Mexico border.
The only trouble with this part of the homeland security strategy is that unlike other parts along the U.S./Mexico border, the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas don’t just like their Mexican neighbors, they’re bound to them through “sickness and in health.”

There is probably no better example of how deep the ties are that exist between the Mexican and Texan border towns than what has come to light with Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made it known that in 2005 there was a dengue fever outbreak in Brownsville. The CDC reports that the outbreak just didn’t affect Brownsville residents but Matamoros residents as well.
More than a third of Brownsville residents and three-quarters of the people across the border in Matamoros were affected. The original carrier of the disease was a woman who had been a 16-year resident of Brownsville.
The CDC, not worrying about securing the border from terrorists but more concerned with the transmission of such a dangerous disease recommended that:

Health authorities along the Texas-Tamaulipas border should consider strengthening surveillance for dengue fever, given the potential for future outbreaks with increased risk for DHF.

Being on the lookout for the disease would be really hard if the fence Congress proposes be built along the border is installed.
Though some would argue that the fence would keep out the fever, that would not be the case at all. If anything, the fence would diminish the kind of interaction and cooperation that these two border towns have historically enjoyed.
Unlike in other areas along the border, Texas border residents are fighting back against constructing such a fence.
In a USA Today column of mine published today, I outline some of the measures this resistance effort has taken in organizing to make their voices heard in Washington.
What is so unique about this resistance is that environmentalists and activists have joined together with politicians and academecians and everyday residents to make it clear that a border wall is not the answer, nor a solution.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley communities have come up with viable options for Washington — the only problem is that Washington doesn’t want to listen to them.
So on August 25, a historic event will take place in this region.
It’s called Hands Across El Rio and its a binational effort to show Washington that Mexico nor US border towns in Texas want a manmade divide.
Who would want a 21st century version of the Berlin Wall? Especially in their backyard?
As one editor asked me, “Don’t they want to stop illegal immigration?”
The difference is that while the rest of the country has been drilled into thinking that the country is under attack, the reality of it is that the border culture — which includes the ongoing flow of movement of both man and animal across border lines — is a way of life that has always been shared between sister communities.
A fence is simply an ugly reminder of where the physical border stands.
Some involved in pointing out Washington’s Border Folly here have put up a web site called No Border Wall.
Washington should take heed.
As the saying goes, “History repeats itself.”
Remember the Alamo?

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  • Frank
    August 11, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Of course we are worried about both borders but Mexico has the most illegals entering by far. It isn’t just about terrorism either. It is about defiance of our immigration laws, our sovereingty as a nation and controlling our population. So with that our border with Mexico has three strikes against it, rather than one with our Canadian border.
    If Mexico and Mexicans see the fence as an eyesore, then they only have themselves to blame. We can’t be concerned about what others think. Our only concern should be this country and it’s citizens.

  • yave begnet
    August 11, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    If Mexico and Mexicans see the fence as an eyesore, then they only have themselves to blame.
    Since they’re the ones building it and all.
    We can’t be concerned about what others think. Our only concern should be this country and it’s citizens.
    I’m a lifelong citizen, and my primary concern is that my country not be filled with intolerant a$$holes. How about we deport all the a$$holes? Send them to Iraq to fight brown people there so they don’t have to fight them here, so people here can live in peace.
    Damn, slim chance this’ll get past the censors 🙂 but sometimes maintaining an attitude of civil detachment is easier said than done. I’m no journalist, after all!

  • Horace
    August 11, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    You’re absolutely right Frank. We give foreign aid to Mexico in the millions, every year, and what do we get, the responsibility for caring for their uninvited poverty stricken nationals . Eventually everyone will get fed up with the abusive rants from Mexican politicians and demand economic sanctions. We must pass a law that the Matricular Consular cards are unacceptable for banking transactions. It’s nothing but government sanctioned fraud as it is. I would like to see a boycott of Mexico as a tourist trap and the elimination of all foreign aid, at least until they make a sincere effort to curb illegal immigration and make economic reforms.
    If Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, the Republicans are a shoe in. No one liked Hillary before and nothing’s really changed since. A Republican president will actually work the will of the people and not appease Latin Amerians or their fifth columnist supporters.

  • Frank
    August 11, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Who is an intolerant a-hole? Most Americans are not. They just want our immigration laws enforced and for immigrants to come to this country legally. Is that what you call “intolerance”?

  • Nonviolent Migration
    August 12, 2007 at 7:26 am

    I live in Brownsville, the focus of this article, and I can tell you that no one here wants the wall. I’m white and don’t want the wall, and I have never met anyone here who wants the wall.
    In fact, if you look at a map of each Congressional district of the U.S. and the vote for or against the wall, you will find that no one on the border wants the wall. If my memory is correct, there is exactly one border district who voted for the wall (out in Arizona or in New Mexico, I can’t remember), and that district doesn’t have a border town. All its voters live north of the border. Now imagine that the federal government came to a poor community in your state and said, ‘We have a huge public works project for your town,’ who would possibly turn this down? Well, if ALL the locals said, ‘No,’ wouldn’t that be a sign that perhaps we should really investigate the issue more?
    If Hazelton and other towns want a wall, let them build their own wall in their own community. We don’t want it here in Brownsville.

  • Horace
    August 12, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Ok, Mir Non-violant migration, we’ll build the wall on the north side of Brownsville and let your town be annexed to Mexico.

  • yave begnet
    August 12, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    We give foreign aid to Mexico in the millions, every year
    Millions is a rounding error, pretty much negligible. I don’t know what the true number is, but it’s probably more than millions but still not very much. I’m guessing most of it is sent to fight the drug cartels, a losing battle in Mexico if ever there was one.
    Dr. Evil: I demand the sum… OF 1 MILLION DOLLARS!
    A Republican president will actually work the will of the people and not appease Latin Amerians or their fifth columnist supporters.
    Pop quiz: George W. Bush belongs to which major political party?
    As for the border towns’ views on border control, while I agree with them substantively, it doesn’t make sense for border towns to decide border policy. Immigration is a federal issue, after all, and once someone enters the U.S. at any point, they can freely travel to any other point. We need sane federal immigration policies, which we’ll hopefully get with a Democratic president and solid Democratic majorities in Congress after next year’s elections.
    They just want our immigration laws enforced and for immigrants to come to this country legally. Is that what you call “intolerance”?
    It’s virtually impossible for working class Mexicans and Central Americans–the bulk of the illegal population–to immigrate legally. The visas just aren’t there. So when you say you want them to come legally when that is not possible, I have to wonder what you really want.

  • Nonviolent Migration
    August 13, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Why is it that we assume the right of free movement across political boundaries within a country, but not between countries? Before racism became legally enshrined in our immigration system, the system was very easy to understand: not only were there no laws limiting immigration, but it was actually legally a “inherent and inalienable right for man to change his home and allegiance.” That right, which we claim within the country was once the law between countries. Why can’t it be again? We should end illegal immigration the way we ended slavery: amend the Constitution so that all people regardless of nativity have equal justice under the law.
    And by the way, I brought up Greenspan because when debating immigration restrictions, the economic argument is the only two-sided argument out there. Both moral arguments and political arguments (at least within a system of democracy) are completely one-sided on this issue. Arguments to limit the free flow of people based on their place of birth are morally and politically indefensible. Economics is the only academic discipline where there is room for honest debate on the subject of immigration. The evidence still comes down on the side of increased levels of immigration, but at least in this one area there is room for discussion. I think we should get away from economic arguments on immigration because they are either immoral (because they only consider the economic effect on the citizen) or at best amoral. But try to debate your position without economic arguments and there isn’t a leg to stand on.

  • David O.
    August 13, 2007 at 8:22 am

    “Ok, Mir Non-violant migration, we’ll build the wall on the north side of Brownsville and let your town be annexed to Mexico.”
    Who is ‘We’ Horace? You have a tapeworm or something? Come on down to the border and help build it if it makes you feel better. That will show them.

  • Frank
    August 15, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    I can’t believe that anyone today in modern times questions a country’s borders or thinks they should be erased and that anyone should be able to cross them at will.

  • Nonviolent Migration
    August 16, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Sorry Frank, but disbelief and ridicule are not valid arguments. Make your point if you can.

  • Horace
    August 18, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Nonviolent Migration,
    Let me help Frank out here. I agree with him that open borders is a completely preposterous idea for the following reasons:
    1. Alternative history: Imagine this were the fall of 1789, just after the enactment of the Constitution. Instead of accepting the responsibility of establishing naturalization and immigration policies, the Founding Fathers decided on an open borders policy. England, taking note of this sent a million or so of its loyal citizens as immigrants to America, a number sufficient to wrest political power from the the indigenous colonists, and re-write the Constitution to effectively grant sovereign power back to the King George III. What a disappointment for Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Jay and the rest who shed their blood to found this nation.
    2. Forward to 2010, when liberal Democrats enact an open border immigration policy that excludes almost no one, except perhaps convicted felons. Twenty million moslems of solid faith emigrate from the Middle East to the U.S. Say two thirds of them believe in immigration law and Jihad, or Holy War. They fail to assimilate, as associating with unbelievers is against their religious beliefs. Instead, they form colonies, like those in France or Germany. Moslems, believing in having as many children as possible, as dictated in their religion, become the politically dominant ethnic/religious group in this country. This gives them the right to shred our Constitution and establish Sharia law and supress all other religions, as is done in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and other nations where Islam is dominant. Riots errupt in the cities as Sunnis and Shiites fight between themselves. America becomes like the Iraq of today.
    The open borders concept is essentially an abandonment of the stewardship bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers. This nation is not one that can be left on automatic, to be governed exclusively by our Constitution, but one that requires vigilence on the part of the people, vigilence to recognize that our nation is vulnerable to destruction by external as well as internal influences. They left us with the responsibility to assure that the principles that they fought for would remain in the hands of the people. Open borders simply casts the future of America to the wind in hopes that nothing untoward will occur. You may trust your birthright to chance, but Frank and I will not. Thomas Jefferson revealed in his writings that he had concerns that large numbers of immigrants not of like mind with the Founding Fathers could re-make American in their own image, an unfavorable one, and he was right. It could happen with open borders.

  • Horace
    August 19, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Re: Horace’s last post.
    Read “Say two thirds of them believe in Sharia law..” in lieu of “Say two thirds of them believe in immigration law.. ”

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