In what has become a running theme in the Rio Grande Valley recently, seven more cities have now approved resolutions Tuesday opposing President Donald Trump’s long-proposed border wall along the U.S./Mexico border.
Elected officials from the cities of McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, Palmview and Sullivan City were unanimous in their decision to make their opposition formal. They now join a growing list of Valley cities passing similar resolutions, including: Brownsville, Mission, La Joya, Weslaco and the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court.
As many as 50 activists, members of the community and many from La Union del Pueblo Entero — or LUPE — were present for the McAllen City Commission’s vote on Tuesday. Only Commissioner Omar Quintanilla abstained from voting while Commissioners Aida Ramirez and John Ingram were absent from the special called meeting.
Mayor Jim Darling’s reason for supporting the resolution was threefold, citing physical barriers and possible impact to property owners, as well as potentially damaging relationships with friends and business acquaintances in Mexico.
“What happens is, we already have a border here in Texas and it is an impediment to illegal entry to a certain extent,” Darling said before remarking about the proposed wall being located within the U.S. as opposed to along the border. “The way it meanders, you cut off people’s property rights, unless you’re gonna build one along the river, which is impossible to do. So, to me, it’s a different situation from just the physical condition of our border here and the effect on property owners that are gonna be south of, what I call, a newly-defined border.”
San Juan and Edinburg elected officials voted unanimously, with the latter’s decision eliciting a standing ovation from those in attendance.
With five of six elected officials in attendance, Pharr commissioners also voted unanimously in favor of a similar resolution. Mayor Dr. Ambrosio “Amos” Hernandez said he was in favor of securing the border but did not favor a brick and mortar wall.
In Palmview, commissioners OK’d the resolution against the wall without opposition, going 4-0 with only Mayor Gerardo “Jerry” Perez opting not to vote. Perez only votes when there is a tiebreaker needed.
Palmview Commissioner Joel Garcia was absent from the proceeding.
In Sullivan City, city commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday opposing any border infrastructure including walls, levees or fences. The vote was 4-0.
In Alamo, a resolution that cites the environmental devastation caused by existing border infrastructure was unanimously approved Tuesday night. The Alamo resolution also mentioned how the Valley’s economy depends on high-quality wildlife habitats and people’s access to them.
Staff writers Mitchell Ferman, Molly Smith, Berenice Garcia, Naxiely Lopez-Puente and Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro contributed to this report.
This story was updated to clarify the number of activists, community members and LUPE representatives present for the McAllen City Commission’s vote on Tuesday, Sept. 5.