Thursday, February 2, 2023
Border Wars: Witnesses Present Very Different Characterizations of the U.S./Mexico Border
As a whole, the Republican witnesses claimed that the border was in chaos, out of control, and open.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, who was invited by Democrats to testify, offered a counter to that perspective. Here is his statement, which begins as follows:
"My name is Ricardo Samaniego, I am an elected County Judge of El Paso, Texas, one of the safest large communities in America and the Veterans Capital of the USA, where I serve a population of almost 900,000 residents in a metroplex consisting of El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez Mexico, and Las Cruces, New Mexico. These three cities form a combined international metropolitan area of 2.7 million individuals and constitutes the largest bilingual and binational work force in the Western Hemisphere. I am honored to share the El Paso story."
Judge Samaniego was specific about his observations:
"We have learned much about how to safely, humanely, and expeditiously treat asylum seekers who pass through our community on their way to unite with sponsors. I am here today to share our El Paso story, a success story, which strikes the delicate balance of security and compassion. Before I tell you our story, however, I must disabuse you of information which I personally know to be false:
- There is no “Open Border” in El Paso. Immigrants seeking asylum largely present themselves to Border Patrol for processing. El Paso is required to abide by the same immigration laws that other border communities must follow.
- There is no invasion of migrants in our community, nor are there hordes of undocumented immigrants committing crimes against citizens or causing havoc in our community. Saying as much continues a false racist narrative against these individuals that perpetuates violence that the El Paso community is all too familiar with, when our citizens were targets of a racially motivated mass shooting on August 3, 2019, that killed 23 El Pasoans and wounded an entire
- Humanitarianism and security are not a binary choice. It is the federal government’s responsibility to do both. We in El Paso, with sufficient financial support, can assist the federal government in fulfilling its mandate. Chaos is not the answer.