The governing bodies of Sullivan City and Palmview joined five other Rio Grande Valley cities Tuesday in passing resolutions against President Trump’s call to build additional border walls or fences in the RGV.
For the past several weeks members of a grass roots group of activists calling themselves the No Border Wall Initiative have been presenting their proposed resolution to RGV cities lobbying their governing bodies to pass resolutions against further border fences or walls in the RGV. One member, Carrie Monthay Ochoa, a former KGBT TV news reporter who now operates a non-profit based Media company, said the group takes credit for changing the mind of Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas on the matter.
Ochoa was joined by group members, Meri Gomez and Salome Welliver, to witness the unanimous vote by the Sullivan City Council as it passed a resolution calling on Trump and Congress to reconsider using taxpayer money for border infrastructure. The city’s resolution suggests the federal government instead “utilize the allocated resources to provide more cost effective methods of enforcing immigration policies such as technology and additional personnel, which would create jobs and stimulate the region, as opposed to the negative effects associated with a wall.” Among the negative effects cited are the divisions of lands belonging to private property owners as well as iconic tourist attractions like the National Butterfly Center and the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, among others.
Ochoa also complimented the resolution passed the same day by Palmview’s City Commission that states the city “values inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity, and welcomes all those who seek to build a better life and raise a family here,” and that “the United States needs to adopt meaningful immigration reform that remains true to American values.”
Elected officials from McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr, San Juan and Alamo also passed anti wall resolutions Tuesday.
“Now we need to get Alton on board,” Ochoa said.
Alton City Manager Jorge Arcuate said Wednesday activists submitted their proposed resolution last week to the city and that it is being considered for placement on the city commission’s Sept. 12 meeting.
“Some cities have their meetings on the first and third Tuesday of the month and we have ours on the second and fourth so we haven’t had the chance to consider it yet,” Arcuate said Wednesday. “We’re considering it for next week’s agenda but no decision has been made.”
In addition to the resolutions, Ochoa said the group’s next goal is to bring RGV Congressman Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela, all Democrats, into the same room to sit down and discuss strategies to stop construction in the Valley.
During the council meeting Sullivan City Mayor Leo Garcia voiced his concern over planned routes of new border fencing in areas that would separate property owners from their land as well as keeping visitors from iconic area destinations.
“We can’t just cut them, off we live there,” he said.
In other business the Sullivan City Council gave approval for city administration to enter into interlocal agreements with the Agua Special Utility District and Urban County Program to construct a drainage improvement project on Pinto Road, a road prone to flooding, said City Manager Juan Cedillo.
Cedillo said the project would extend from the county line to the north and Expressway 83 to the south. He said the total cost and scope of the project has not yet been finalized but he said Urban County Project was contributing $200,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds and the city would contribute about $60,000 left over from construction of the city’s splash pad. Cedillo said Precinct 3 Hidalgo County Commissioner Joe M. Flores has pledged to provide the labor and equipment and that Agua SUD’s Executive Director Oscar Cancino would be the project’s manager.
Cedillo said the plan must now go before the Hidalgo County Commissioner’s Court for approval before plans can be finalized.