Rio Grande Valley no longer included in Gov. Abbott’s border crisis declaration

1 year 2 months 4 weeks ago Tuesday, June 29 2021 Jun 29, 2021 June 29, 2021 2:37 PM June 29, 2021 in News - Local

With Gov. Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump visiting the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday, Abbott amended his “border crisis” disaster declaration.

In the amendment, none of the four RGV counties are included in the disaster declaration anymore.

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

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez says he and his team looked for what the governor described as “an increase of violent crimes, and damage to private properties.” 

"In searching for evidence to support that, I didn't find sufficient evidence,” Cortez said.

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Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. was unavailable to comment, but a state representative in Brownsville said he hasn't heard of any extra costs from the county commissioners, sheriffs, or judge's office relating to migrants. 

"They're immediately delivered to federal authorities, so there should be no added cost to the county,” Rep. Alex Dominguez said.

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.

"The county makes about $3 million to $3.5 million a year off of these rentals, that's a little over 10% of our total budget," Vera said. “"To me we're caught in the middle of politics that are way above our paygrade."

Channel 5 News reached out to Willacy County Judge Aurelio “Keter” Guerra and did not hear back. 

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