Gov. Greg Abbott leaves out RGV from border crisis declaration

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Lockhart, Texas Feb. 1, 2021: Texas Governor Greg Abbott prepares to deliver his State of the State speech at Visionary Fiber Technologies outside Lockhart, TX. Abbott is proposing expansion of telemedicine and increased broadband access for rural Texans among other policies. (Bob Daemmrich for Nexstar)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has amended his border crisis disaster declaration. In the amendment, none of the four Rio Grande Valley counties are included.

Abbott’s reason for leaving RGV out, according to the amended report, was that there was “an increase of violent crimes and damage to private properties.” 

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said “Really we haven’t had any major problems, our crime rate has not gone up. I haven’t had one single rancher complain to me about anything.”

Judge Vera said they’re okay financially for now – but they may not be soon. According to Vera, the governor’s plan to charge migrants with trespassing will cost the county money. Federal agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection currently take care of migration – which means they also pay for it.

“Once they’re our prisoners, we have to pay for it,” Vera said. “Our taxpayers have to pay for it.”

The county will lose a large source of income they get by renting out jail space to the federal government for migrants, Vera added.

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