Border crisis a 'myth' says county judge

County Judge says immigrant influx isn't a 'crisis.'

EL PASO, Texas -      While President Obama and Gov. Perry have said the immigration situation on the border is a humanitarian crisis, one local politician says that's not true.

     County Judge Veronica Escobar co-wrote an opinion piece published in Friday's New York Times. Its title: "Why the Border Crisis Is a Myth."

    Escobar said she started writing the article weeks ago. While she doesn't deny that the tens of thousands of immigrants crossing into south Texas isn't a problem, Escobar said that calling it a crisis is wrong, and that it hurts our community.

     "Because all that does is ramp up the political side of it," Escobar said. "If we want to address what's going on, that's one thing, and we absolutely need to have a serious conversation about what's happening in Central America, the role the United States has played."
     Escobar said that the term "crisis" is being used to justify costly new measures, and that it damages our region's reputation, making it seem like it's dangerous or unsafe along the border.

     Others say that the border is indeed in crisis.

     "Well, you know, certainly the American public wants an orderly border," said Rep. Henry Cuellar,
(D) Texas. "Right now they see chaos because you see a lot of people coming in."

     In her opinion piece, Escobar also takes issue with the discussion of limiting the rights of immigrants, which she calls un-American.
     In the article, she wrote "We can debate the wisdom of providing greater protection to Central American children than to Mexican children, but there can be no doubt that giving safe haven to a child facing violence in a country that cannot protect its most vulnerable citizens is what a civilized country, with the resources we possess, should do."

     "When laws are changed to erode rights, or when money is expended to militarize the border, that doesn't go away," Escobar said. "So we've got to look at this in a much broader context."

     Escobar also said that there is strain on the families immigrants stay with after coming through El Paso, since they can't legally find work. But she said that could be addressed through immigration reform that is sorely needed overall.

     Overall, Escobar said her article wasn't meant to be a full solution to the immigrant influx, but rather a narrow piece addressing the serious issues she sees right now.

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