MISSION, TX – State Representative Sergio Muñoz, Jr. has been on a mission to find answers to many of the questions surrounding the Rio Grande Valley's dramatic influx of immigrants from Central America, including an unprecedented number of unaccompanied children. The wave of immigrants has caused what has been widely acknowledged as a humanitarian crisis. Rep. Muñoz is also assisting with the humanitarian effort geared towards helping family units that arrive in the United Sates depleted of nutrition and resources.
The recent calling for a surge of DPS troopers from Governor Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst, and Speaker Straus addresses the issues from a law enforcement perspective which is designed to fill a void left by federal agents who have been overwhelmed by the flood of immigrants.
"The surge of DPS Troopers will alleviate some of the law enforcement issues we have in the Valley, but we still need to find solutions to other strains on the system, such as processing, sheltering, and medical screening of thousands of new immigrants," said Rep. Muñoz. "We have also been assured that the troopers will be here to enforce their core law enforcement mission and not act as immigration officials nor implement checkpoints."
Rep. Muñoz has been working with local, state, and federal officials to determine if, when and to what degree state resources should be mobilized to assist the federal government with what is expected to be a drawn-out increase of immigrants.
Rep. Muñoz also shared the concerns of many of his constituent cities and police chiefs who are calling for additional funding to offset the cost and stress of the additional “border security” type work they are doing. As local police officers are conducting border operations, they are drawn away from inner city police work; a trend that must be reversed by additional resources.
"Texas should be at the ready with a well-coordinated mobilization of resources much like shelter operations for a natural disaster response or our Operation Lone Star. The focus should be to allow our State and Local governments to assist with the humanitarian, sheltering, and medical screening operations, thereby allowing more Border Patrol agents to resume their primary duties," added Muñoz. "As for the recent call for a special session of the Legislature, I believe anything we can do to draw resources and funding from our federal and state governments to help our local agencies recoup their costs is well worth the effort."
Beyond the emergency response of our government, there has been a significant and growing response from the community to avert the humanitarian crisis… people are donating clothes, food, toiletries, diapers, toys, etc. Much of this is because of the unprecedented number of young unaccompanied children and family units fleeing a desperate situation and arriving in great need of basic necessities; and the people of our Valley are responding compassionately.
"I am so proud to be a part of this community that is responding with compassion to young children who have found themselves in a desperate situation," said Muñoz.
Rep. Muñoz continues to search for answers to many of these questions and has been in daily contact with local, state, and federal officials. His office continues to monitor the humanitarian needs and has visited Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen.
With regard to the humanitarian effort, there has been a shift in the location, people interested in donating items should take their donations to the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley. Other locations, including Sacred Heart Catholic Church, are asking that donations to delivered to the Food Bank. Please note that the priority items include children's clothing, diapers, baby wipes, toiletries, underwear, easy open snacks and drinks, and other comfort items.
A complete list create by our partners at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley is attached.
RICHARD P. SANCHEZ
121 E. Tom Landry