Ruben Cantu

Ruben Cantu

I’ve been touching upon immigrants and immigration in this column, the humanitarian crisis and how the community of Del Rio has reacted to the unexpected and unannounced increase in the influx of asylum-seekers. They come from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) and some other countries far and away.

I try to keep a down-to-Earth approach, without taking sides, since this is one of the most controversial topics our community has been dealing with. The increased rates in asylum-seekers going through Del Rio are bringing up the best, and sometimes the not-so-great in some of us.

That is why on Thursday, when I got a call from someone wanting to talk about my column, I braced myself for a lengthy ideological discussion with an angry caller.

It turned out to be one of my three readers – two if you don’t count proofreading – who just wanted to share her opinion on the subject. She said the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition has been doing a great job responding to the crisis, and said they deserve more recognition.

She told me she didn’t like all the opinion columns published in the paper, and that she avoided some of the most controversial ones. She also told me some good things about my writing.

Long story short, it turned out to be a very civilized and informative call, very respectful and productive. The kind of discussion that has become a rarity in this day and age.

I am glad this reader called, and I encouraged her to put her thoughts in writing and share them with the community. But she didn’t want any limelight and didn’t want to put herself out there, exposing her feelings to the public.

After giving this whole situation much thought, the attitude of this reader is giving me a little hope. My hope in mankind has been dwindling lately, due to the loud voices yelling to steer to the far left or to the far right in any given topic, but I now realize that there is a silent – I don’t know if it is a majority or minority at this point – but silent individuals out there, who are still willing to discuss controversial topics in a mature manner, who are willing to listen and to accept that their points of view are subject to analysis and debate.

We, as a society, need more people like this, individuals who are willing to recognize that they are not the absolute owners of the truth, that we all have flaws and that our feelings and opinions are as valid as those of the ones who disagree with them.

I am the first one to admit and recognize that I don’t have all the answers, not only on the immigration issue, but in many other matters we all take very personal.

This is true also in the case of our federal legislators, who have been criticized for not doing enough to address the humanitarian crisis.

We need to keep in mind that Washington is a huge machine in which a vast majority of the components have to pull together to advance anything.

Sen. John Cornyn is pushing to pass legislation to secure funding for reimbursements to Texas communities and non-governmental organizations providing migrant care at the border.

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (Texas-23rd) introduced a bill to amend the Homeland Security’s funding bill that would add $30 million to the Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance funds to be used for emergency food and shelter grants to local governments and non-government organizations.

The bottom line is, the caller was right, the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition has been doing an amazing job. Dozens of volunteers have been working tirelessly to get our community – and these asylum-seekers – through the crisis, and they have been doing it not only without pay, but sometimes dedicating their own resources to the cause.

Kudos to the coalition, and to all those silent individuals out there who are willing to discuss these sensitive topics with their feet on the ground.

Our letters to the editor are published Tuesdays, so if you feel like sharing your thoughts with the community go ahead and send them our way.

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