Two county residents offering differing perspectives on spending taxpayer money to deal with the immigrant crisis spoke during Monday’s county commissioners court meeting.
Fernando Garcia told the court he was adamantly against the spending of taxpayer money.
“... It’s the public’s money. It’s the money that you take from us in fees and taxes, and judging by the majority of the comments from (the court’s joint meeting with the city and school district) Thursday, the citizens are against using our tax money for this shelter,” Garcia said.
“It’s a federal problem, and the federal government needs to solve it, and they can, when they’re forced to. There’s a shelter that’s going to be opened up in Carrizo Springs for 1,600 teens, so the federal government has money to spend when they so choose. There’s tents being erected in Eagle Pass, according to the Eagle Pass newspaper, to handle the overflow (of immigrants) there, so why is it here, in Val Verde County, the overflow gets dumped onto our citizens, sent to this shelter, and we’re forced to deal with it when funding runs out?” Garcia said.
He also wondered aloud about statements made “about immigrants roaming our streets and a crime wave.”
“According to the (Border Patrol) sector chief, these are the least likely people to commit a crime. We have mothers, fathers, children. So how is it one minute they’re nonviolent, non-threatening, and the next minute, they’re going to steal, they’re going to rob, they’re going to car-jack?
“They can’t be both, and if they are the type of people who are going to steal from us, these are the people I really do not want our tax money used on because each one of you has people in your precinct that could use that money, that chipped into that pot. You have people in your community that are hungry, that can’t pay their bills, that live in substandard housing. What are you going to tell those people when they ask you, ‘Commissioner, why did you put the welfare of an illegal alien above us?’” Garcia asked.
He said, “At some point we have to say enough is enough. I’m not anti-immigrant. I’m not anti-immigration, but these people broke a law to get here, and then we’re going to reward them by spending our money on them? I say no, and all of you should say no.”
Sandra Fuentes, a co-chair of The Border Organization, said she realized the court faced a difficult decision.
“To be sure, there are some who would say that not one cent of the taxpayers’ money ought to be spent on ‘those people.’ The Border Organization is here today to provide you with the alternative perspective. Our organization is inspired by the Judeo-Christian values of our member institutions.
“To welcome the stranger is much more to us than platitudes and empty rhetoric. For us, it is a living mandate by which we ourselves live and that we work to make an aspect of public policy. But we understand as well, that to live by the dictates of our religious convictions is insufficient when dealing with public policy. We understand that our values must make sense in terms of addressing the public good, our citizens and our community,” Fuentes told the court.
Fuentes saluted the coalition volunteers working to transition the immigrants out of Del Rio.
“Everybody seems to agree in this community that this is a federal issue. It is. They created it. They’re playing games in Washington, and we’re left holding the bag. But our reality is here today, next week, next month. The federal government is not going to come down and solve this issue anytime soon,” Fuentes said.
“So the question for us as a community is, what do we do today, next week, next month, 18 months from now? We can be smart about it and continue doing what we’re doing, and spend some of our resources in getting them out of here as soon as possible. Yes, at the same time, we need to put pressure on Washington, and they need to send money, resources to help us out with his. At the end of the day, the question for our community is, did we step up to the plate? Did we do the right thing for everyone involved?” she said.