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Texas Matters: Trump's War Of Words On The Border

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio
Credit David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

During President Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union Address, he paid special attention to the state of the Southern border.

"As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States. We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection. I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught," Trump said. 

Trump presented another argument for building a wall and singled out his view on how life is in El Paso. He claimed that the Texas border city was once the most dangerous city in America but after the construction of a border wall there, it suddenly became safe. This is a view that isn’t supported with crime statistics.

Trumps remarks have not been warmly received by people who live in El Paso, which might be something he will learn when he goes to El Paso on Monday for a Make America Great Again Rally.

Protests are planned to greet the president, including one called March for Truth organized by the group Border Network for Human Rights.

Fernando Garcia is the founder and executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights. They are planning a protest for President Trump when he arrives in El Paso on Monday for a Make America Great Again rally.


National Butterfly Center


The National Butterfly Center near Mission, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley is a flash point for new border wall construction.

Despite the inability of President Trump to secure new funding for a border wall, Homeland security is pushing forward with a plan to build 25 miles of concrete barriers on top of the flood control levee in Hidalgo County along the Rio Grande.

This will cut off protected habitat lands and could include the Butterfly Center. Marianna Treviño-Wright is the center’s director.

Managing Migrations


The United States has a long history of depending on labor from Mexico – whether it be legal or illegal. South Texas agriculture and industries across the nation have been available to undocumented workers for over a century. And during that time, the Border Patrol and attitudes about a border have shifted depending on circumstances. Cristina Salinas, a professor at the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, writes about the history of flexibility at the southern border in her new book, Managed Migrations – Growers, Farmworkers and Border Enforcement in the Twentieth Century. It’s published by University of Texas Press.


Commentary: Hispanics Semantics


The immigration debate has prompted a surge in the use of words we didn’t used to hear quite so much. Words like “caravan” or “asylum.”  Words matter.  Words are loaded with meaning—associations that could denigrate and fail to communicate.  In her commentary, Texas Public Radio contributor, Yvette Benavides, gives us a lesson in Semantics.  Yvette Benavides is a professor of English and creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University.

Copyright 2020 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

David Martin Davies is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering Texas, the border and Mexico.