This article originally appeared in the February 2016 print edition.
By Valeria Garza
Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, has become infamous and popular amoung voters thanks to his comments about immigration. Though the only presidential candidate to visit Laredo, does Trump really believe that our city and other border towns are infested with “rapist” and “criminals?”
The answer is no. If he did, he would not have visited here. Instead, Trump wants to create this image that Hispanics also hate immigrants, but most families here are immigrants themselves. He feels that the City of Laredo is so focused on building a wall, yet the local government has no interest in that. What Trump fails to understand is the attitude and culture of border towns.
Border towns may seem quite the same, making people think they may all have the same culture and history. Once you have lived in a different border town, you will realize that it varies in the way people are raised. For example, Laredo has a higher English speaking population than most people may think; in fact, many of those born and raised in Laredo don’t know much Spanish. Meanwhile, in the Rio Grande Valley, their dominant language is Spanish.
In every other place you will see corruption and violence, but Laredo somehow manages to keep it low. The drug violence happening in border towns has become more noticeable, with minors that are barely in high school being charged with murder. In some cases, they are simply influenced by the people who surround them.
In a way, border towns have the stress of cities that had similar drug issues. Baltimore was like and so was New York in the 1980s, but these cities were not growing then, they were well established. Laredo and other border towns in general are growing. As they grow, they will grow out of the image of being a “danger zone.”
Donald Trump made a fortune in real estate, yet he wants to invest in Laredo as if it were a DMZ. Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are not East and West Berlin. Northern Mexico has this drug issue because Americans are buying their products. Americans on the border could be assisting because no one is investing in their cities. Instead of treating these places as a political punching bag, Trump and the Republicans should swoon voters by embracing and investing in these towns or they will continue losing to Democrats. Texas is still a very red state, but the increasing Hispanic population is continually being courted by the DNC. Texas could naturally grow to the left, if the Republicans continue to applaud people like Donald Trump.