R.G.’s Roundup: Uncertainty in the Trump Era for Big Bend and Border Business on Fury Road
Our favorite political reads of the week.
Republic of Texas Constitution Adopted
The constitutional convention of the Republic of Texas adjourned on March 17, 1836, after ratifying a Constitution “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves.” However, the document also legalized slavery in Texas and declared that Africans, people of African descent, and Indians were not citizens. It additionally stated in Article V, Section 1: “Ministers of the gospel being, by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions, therefore, no minister of the gospel or priest of any denomination whatever shall be eligible to the office of the Executive of the Republic, nor to a seat of either branch of the Congress of the same.” In the Bill of Rights, the delegates also made clear that “every citizen shall have the right to bear arms in defence of himself and the Republic.” Of course, with a Mexican army invading, border security was a major issue for the young republic.
by Todd J. Gillman
The Dallas Morning News
Getting a handle on President Trump’s campaign promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the border with Mexico has been slippery as an eel. But at least the White House has put a price tag on phase one, even if they still can’t say where the first stretch will be built.
“It’s all that we think that we can spend this year,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Wednesday. “The next question is going to be how many miles of wall does that build. We don’t know the answer to that question because we haven’t settled on construction types. We haven’t settled on where we’re going to start.”
But less than a month ago, the Department of Homeland Security issued a frequently asked questions document that indicated the first sections of the wall would replace current fencing. At present, the agency has requested bids for prototype walls.
A1. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is taking immediate action in response to the president’s executive order. The Border Patrol is conducting an operational assessment, which will identify priority areas where CBP can build a wall or similar physical barrier on the border where it currently does not exist. Locations near El Paso, Texas, Tucson, Arizona, and El Centro, California, have also been identified where we will replace areas where the fence or old brittle landing-mat fencing are no longer effective.
A Reuter’s story, however, says the first phase of construction will be in El Paso, but the second phase will be in Big Bend, where the federal government already owns the land.
The report said the first phase would be the smallest, targeting sections covering 26 miles (42 km) near San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; and in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.
The report assumes DHS would get funding from Congress by April or May, giving the department sufficient time to secure contractors and begin construction by September. Trump has said Congress should fund the wall upfront, but that Mexico will reimburse U.S. taxpayers. Mexico has said it will not pay…
The second phase of construction proposed in the report would cover 151 miles (242 km) of border in and around the Rio Grande Valley; Laredo, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; El Paso, Texas and Big Bend, Texas. The third phase would cover an unspecified 1,080 miles (1,728 km), essentially sealing off the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
Texas business men J. O. Langford, E. E. Townsend, and newspaperman Amon Carter first dreamed of preserving Big Bend in the early 1930s. They put together the funding for a state park, but believed the best way to keep the land protected was to give it to the federal government. Arguably, if a wall is built there, in an area where canyons already form a barrier, it would violate a trust that Langford, Townsend, and Carter put into the federal government.
by Stephanie Jara and Steve Taylor
Rio Grande Guardian
At a business forum sponsored by a pair of Rio Grande congressmen, McAllen Chamber of Commerce President Steve Ahlenius said the uncertainty coming out of Washington on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, a proposed border adjustment tax on imports, and the construction of a wall has South Texas “hurtling” toward a recession.
“I think we are going to have some tough times in the sense that there is a lot of uncertainty about what is happening, a lot of uncertainty about what comes out of Washington, and what can come out of Mexico City. I think we are going to see an escalation of ‘if Washington does this, then Mexico is going to do this.’ So, I think we are going to see some challenges when it comes to dealing with rhetoric and policies and it could really do some harm to our region.”
Ahlenius pointed out that two weeks ago his chamber hosted an event with chambers of commerce from Tamaulipas, Mexico. “What we really tried to stress at that meeting is the importance of working together as a region and not to be taken apart. We have to recognize that there are ties, there are a lot of seamless ties on the border between Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley and we need to strengthen those ties and recognize that what happens on one side of the border, it impacts the other side.”
Some real estate agents told the gathering that international homebuyers added $10 billion to the state economy. They said as half the expensive homes in the Sharyland Plantation near Mission are owned by wealthy Mexicans. They fear the homes now are being dumped onto the market. Agent Sue Ann Taubert said:
“An example of the residential development growth is the Sharyland Plantation area in Mission, where Mexican nationals build large expensive homes. But now we are seeing many ‘For Sale’ signs in those homes in that area. Real estate sales have increased since the implementation of NAFTA, and we want to see this continue.”
Similarly, South Padre Island Mayor Barry Patel said Mexican nationals own half the condominiums on South Padre Island. “We know that because we send the tax bills to Mexico and we get a check from them to pay the property taxes,” Patel said. He estimated Mexicans spend $4.5 billion dollars in the border region each year.
There are other interesting statements from South Texans on the issues. Please, read the full article.
by Shelby Webb
I bet few Texans know that in the 1982 Plyler v. Doe decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the State of Texas has a legal obligation to give a secondary education to every child living in the state regardless of their immigration status. Because of this, school districts do not gather information on whether a child is an unauthorized immigrant or a native born citizen. The state comptroller’s office in 2006 estimated that there were 135,000 undocumented immigrant children in the state’s public schools in the 2004 to 2005 school year. President Trump’s crackdown on unauthorized immigration has many students in Texas worried, if not for themselves, then for their parents.
Some districts with a majority of Hispanic students – including the Pasadena and Aldine ISDs – have mostly stayed mum. Meanwhile, Houston ISD and several local charter-school operators, including KIPP and YES Prep, have publicly voiced support of immigrant students and their families, including those living in the U.S. without permission.
As each anxious person raised his or her concern at the KIPP school on a recent weeknight, immigration attorney Karen Katz Feldman listened and gave responses in English and Spanish.
“Every day I’m trying to keep up with daily changes, announcements and new interpretations,” Feldman said.
by Bob Price
At the Texas Senate this week debated and sent to the House Senate Bill 6, more commonly known as the bathroom bill, Breitbart writer Bob Price recounted the recent story of a Seattle woman sexually assaulted in a public park restroom. Supporters of SB 6 claim it is intended to keep men out of women’s bathrooms, while opponents say it is aimed at discriminating against transgender people.
Calling the attack her “worst jogging nightmare,” Kelly Herron, 36, said she yelled, “Not today, m—–f—–,” and fought valiantly to save her life, ABC’s Good Morning America reported.
Herron completed four of her 10-mile trek and stopped to use a ladies room in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park. “As I was drying my hands, I became aware that something was wrong,” she told the ABC reporters. When she turned around, she saw what no woman wants to see in a ladies room–a man. The man, it turned out, is 40-year-old Arizona registered sex offender Gary Steiner, she said.
Perhaps Breitbart missed the story published the same day out of Seattle. Herron suddenly had found herself, literally, the poster child for the Just Want Privacy campaign to get a bathroom law on the Washington state ballot as an initiative, I-1552. The Seattle Times reported that Herron is furious and wants the group to refund any money it raised using her image.
“To the people behind I-1552, I say ‘Not today, mother (expletive),’ ” Herron said, using the same language she says she shouted at the man who assaulted her last week.
“I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others,” she added…
In denouncing the campaign’s use of her story, Herron said, “I’m more upset now than I have been all week after seeing that a political group is using my face, my name and my story to fundraise for I-1552, a ballot initiative that deliberately targets and harms transgender people — including friends whom I respect.”
The Longview News-Journal recently published stories critical of U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert for refusing to do public town hall meetings. Gohmert said he was not doing the events out of fear of violence. At least one reader believes Gohmert is right in his thinking.
Well, well. The Left-Wing News Journal is alive and well. Here you go attacking the Honorable Louie Gohmert (Editorial, Feb. 24) for having the good sense to avoid town hall meetings that will most likely include the thugs and hooligans who have decided that the way to get their way in America is to wreak havoc and shout down all opposing views. These uncivilized cretins have decided that civil discussion has no place in American politics. Theirs are not an acts of protest but of boorishness and vulgarity.
I applaud Rep. Gohmert for having the good sense to deny them a showplace for their savagery.
— Al McBride, Longview
The Amarillo Globe News editorial page noted this week that there has been a reported increase in firearm sales to Democrats since the election of Donald Trump as president.
Those who feared President Barack Obama was coming to take their guns were wrong – and if political labels are accurate, these fears were held by conservatives. It is just as nonsensical for liberals to fear that President Donald Trump is coming to round them up and/or take away their rights – and their only recourse is to brandish a firearm.
It is a tad satisfying though to see liberals, who usually do not have much use for the Second Amendment, now exercising their constitutional rights to own a gun.
Too often liberals are unaware of or ignore the part of the Second Amendment that states “the right of the people” to own guns shall not be “infringed” by government.
Welcome to freedom, liberals.
by René A. Guzman
San Antonio Express-News
A comic book company in San Antonio is giving a time-traveling twist to anti-Trump sentiments.
Antarctic Press sure has that dystopian jingoism on the brain with “Trump vs. Time Lincoln,” a new comic book that pits a time-traveling Abraham Lincoln against a twisted take on President Donald Trump straight out of “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Writer Alfred C. Perez describes “Trump vs. Time Lincoln” as an adventure set in a wasteland of time called “Alternate Reality,” where “what was once fact is now a matter of alternate choice,” according to the AP solicitation for the comic.