Friday, June 24, 2011
I was there at the invitation of some women's groups that coordinated their meetings with my schedule. My job was to show up where they told me to be, stand where they told me to stand and then give an inspirational talk. They had it all worked out as new faces shuttled me from one place to another, from one home to another for night after night. The whole plan worked beautifully and I cherish the memory.
In addition to that very positive lovely experience, I also had the privilege of also LISTENING to several hundred folks representing all aspects of that colorful culture.
It was an educational experience of our US immigration issues.
I met and stayed one night with a beautiful elderly couple that owns an orange grove seven miles from the Mexican border. That ranch has been their life for over thirty years, they raised four sons there. Now the owner frequently finds trash left behind under his citrus trees by illegals trying to brave the searing heat, waiting on a "pick-up." He sadly explained that some don't make it and die from exposure to the harsh weather.
I heard the story of a teenager girl that had been seduced so her baby would be the "anchor baby" that would guarantee the boys family a smooth entrance into the land of the FREE. It almost worked and would have if the American grandparents had not been willing to fight through the American courts for that child for YEARS.
I heard stories of massacres, kidnappings and drug battles that spill over into Mexican border neighborhoods. The possibility of being kidnapped is very real for those that have a little money.
Another lovely couple that invited me to their home for a night gave me a tour of the town near their home. It reeked of Human Trafficking, everywhere I looked. They stated that no one is safe in that particular area as I wished we would just move on down the road.
One business woman told how the criminals assimilate into the culture by buying high end condos and owning businesses right alongside legal enterprises. They've got a lot of money. She shared, "they're everywhere."
Another shared of overhearing conversations in her store of drug runners making plans to "pick-up" illegals at hot spots down the road.
Lovely Hispanics that went through the immigration process and have lived in America legally for a long time told of their anger and frustration toward those that gain access to free health care and college educations by breaking the law.
One beautiful long time resident of Brownsville described the border fence. It's a JOKE, her words. It is not complete, never will be. It has huge gaps all along the line AND businesses file for and pay for a "variance" which means their property is exempt and the fence is NOT built on their property, hence another opening! In other places the fence is placed right up against the back wall of a house! She shook her head as she stated, "The politicians and the rest of America don't have a clue. Their heads are in the sand." All I could think of was the amount of money that has been wasted on that JOKE. (Another case of governmental efficiency!)
I was so overwhelmed by what I was hearing that I found myself wishing that SOMEONE would report what the people that live there are actually thinking and saying. Then I realized that SOMEONE was me!
Here goes. These quotes are the voice of the people that live on our southern Texas border.
"People that don't live here have no idea what is truly happening."
"The mayors and the folks of the Chamber of Commerce don't want anyone to know the truth. It would harm tourism. No one would want to come here to visit or live."
"We had a mayor for a while that absolutely would not allow anything negative about our area to be published in the newspapers or put on the TV."
"A drug cartel battle broke out recently and bullets were found at the University of Texas, Brownsville." (A BEAUTIFUL campus I might add!)
"No one goes over the border into Mexico now to shop, it's too dangerous. The economy over there has been destroyed."
"A young youth pastor took a bunch of kids into Mexico on a mission trip, some were kidnapped, some killed. He was sure that all he needed to do was pray and they would be safe."
"No city in Mexico is safe, they just found mass graves in Acapulco."
"Mass graves are being discovered on the Mexican side all the time."
"After one recent battle it was reported that 60 people were killed. In truth, the number was 250."
"There are places where the fence is actually built on the other side of ranches, leaving American property unprotected. The farm is actually located between the river and the fence. The owners have to drive around the thing to get home. Once there, they're on their own even though they are on American ground."
"We understand that people want to come here for a better life, but can America support everyone in the world? Health care and college education is offered free, while WE have to pay for those things."
"All nationalities cross illegally not just the Hispanics. Anyone and everyone (terrorists) can come on in. It's an open door."
"Tons of drugs are confiscated at the check-point daily. No one knows how much actually gets through!"
"If it were humanly possible we would get out of here." (I heard that SEVERAL times.)
"Our family is staying, we will not surrender Texas to Mexico. I refuse to learn Spanish" (I heard that only ONCE.)
"A while back an official of Mexico vowed to take back Texas without firing a single shot. They've almost accomplished it."
"When we moved here I was sure I was coming to a third world country."
"I love it here. We live on Padre Island." (Resort area.)
"We have wonderful Hispanic neighbors and friends. They're citizens and have lived here a long time."
"97% of the population is Hispanic."
"Downtown Brownsville is a glimpse of Mexico. There are only Mexican businesses there now."
"We are living the life of Chicago in the 30's as these drug lords battle over turf."
Everywhere I went I asked the same question, "what is the solution?" I got the same response. It was always a look to the ground, a shaking of the head and these words, "I don't know." There is such a sense of hopelessness. I asked if anyone thought that putting troops on the border would help. No response.
One very intelligent local politician replied, "We're going to have to defend ourselves. It's the new normal." His wife's real estate business had been robbed that very day. He was heading out to personally find the two laptops that were taken! His friend encouraged ME to take the proper training and buy a gun!
It's the Wild, Wild West all over again! Isn't the number one purpose of our government to protect the American people? Isn't that why we even HAVE a military staffed with America's finest and bravest young people?
I've heard that most places in Washington DC are perfectly safe.