How issues at the border hold local farmers back
Starr County, Texas is known for its cattle industry and cropland. It is also at the heart of the immigration crisis.
It is right on the border with Mexico.
“Starr County is located right along the Rio Grande River, and our community, our city is probably within a quarter-mile from the river. So, we do see a lot of activity of immigrants coming into the country,” Omar Montemayor with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension explains.
This has meant troubles for members of the county ag community.
“These immigrants go through their property and as they’re going through the property, they’re leaving gates open. They’re leaving trash behind and things like that, and if you’re a rancher, you know how important-- your rotating cattle around and somebody leaves the gate open and kind of throws everything off,” Montemayor states. “So, you know, that’s very critical. Sometimes as these gates are left behind, cattle are out in the highway.”
In Starr County, law enforcement is searching different vehicles on the side of the road on a regular basis. Montemayor tells us that it is not just Texas DPS or Border Patrol on or around farmlands here, but also the game wardens.
“We started seeing an increase in a lot of law enforcement in the area probably about a month, month and a half ago,” he states. “This law enforcement presence has been in the area before. So, a lot of the community here is already used to seeing the big presence in the area.”
He noted that farmers here are just working their way through it.
“The farmers haven’t-- I wouldn’t say that the immigration has impacted them a whole-- I guess kept them from or affected them in a negative way,” he adds.
He says that the ag community in his country looks to remain strong through the duration of the crisis.