This Texas Border Town Would Be Split And Crippled By The Proposed US-Mexico Wall

It sits on the border but operates as one city for thousands on both sides

The very aspects of life in Laredo that allow for the city to thrive are the elements of international relations that President Trump’s isolationist policies that make it a clear target for the administration’s proposed legislation. Workers move rather freely across the border for jobs, made possible by NAFTA and other trade agreements that require straddling the international border.

The city’s pedestrian bridge allows 6,000 people per day to enter Mexico, while 14,000 vehicles cross the border daily for both work and pleasure. The demographic makeup on both sides of Laredo’s borders is predominately Latino.

As such, any discussion or steps toward tighter immigration policies (including an impenetrable wall) represent a threat to the culture and economy of the border town. Speaking to Vice, Laredo, Texas mayor Pete Saenz plainly states, "Along the entire border with Mexico, there is anxiety and, to an extent, fear as to how these things are going to play out."

Both sides of the city depend on the other for employment, productivity, and consumption. So while the wall may serve as a plain and powerful metaphor of the isolationist endgame, dissolution of trade, proposed tariffs, taxes, and other economic disincentives serve as threats that loom as large and as long as a wall’s shadow.

Complicating matters of commerce is the city’s natural situation on the border as a conduit for illegal and illicit activity. Mexican drug cartel activity naturally spills over to the U.S. side of town, and even when it doesn’t, it’s close enough to be treated, understandably, as a specter over the American side of the city.

Nonetheless, the stats show Laredo, Texas,’ crime rates to be commensurate with other American cities of its size. As such, it’s difficult to imagine a border wall would make Laredo—or the United States at large, for that matter—a safer city, but it’s certain that a wall, increased obstacles to ingress and egress, and economic trade barriers could turn a vibrant, sustainable, and some would say crucial, border town into a city scrambling to recover from losing enterprises to federal immigration and fiscal policies.

Speaking to NPR, Mayor Saenz stated plainly that any follow-through on the mechanisms to lock down the border will cripple his city, economy, and citizens:

Well, it'll be a disaster, frankly. We're a—based on the numbers that I gave you—we're a transportation, trade, commerce, distribution center, warehousing, so we're a trade town. That's our backbone and our bread and butter frankly. So if the wall is there—and it's very offensive, frankly, to the people that—well, to Mexico primarily. And the people there in Laredo and the border area do business with Mexico.

Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less

The disappearance of 40-year-old mortgage broker William Earl Moldt remained a mystery for 22 years because the technology used to find him hadn't been developed yet.

Moldt was reported missing on November 8, 1997. He had left a nightclub around 11 p.m. where he had been drinking. He wasn't known as a heavy drinker and witnesses at the bar said he didn't seem intoxicated when he left.

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore

The common stereotypes about liberals and conservatives are that liberals are bleeding hearts and conservatives are cold-hearted.

It makes sense, conservatives want limited government and to cut social programs that help the more vulnerable members of society. Whereas liberals don't mind paying a few more dollars in taxes to help the unfortunate.

A recent study out of Belgium scientifically supports the notion that people who scored lower on emotional ability tests tend to have right-wing and racist views.

Keep Reading Show less