The Trump administration deployed 2,800 troops to the Texas-Mexico border in October to confront a migrant caravan moving north from Central America. And by December, most of those soldiers were sent home, but border cities like McAllen are still dealing with the aftermath of the military presence.
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling has been in office for several years now and has seen a lot when it comes to immigration and border security issues.
Darling said thousands of people flow across the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge and the Anzalduas International Bridge every day. He said his city is responsible for any illegal entry through that area.
Darling said he’s proud of McAllen's good partnership and open communication with Customs and Border Protection. He said the agency often gives the city advance notices of any operations that will take place on the bridges and surrounding areas.
But that mutual relationship wasn’t there when the Army moved into town several weeks ago, especially when soldiers erected concertina wire near the bridges as a security measure.
“The Army didn’t ask for any permission, or give us any notice,” Darling said. “They went in and decided where they needed to do that.
Darling said they’ve taken some of it down.
“We didn’t ask for their permission to take it down, they didn’t ask for our permission to put it up,” Darling said. “So when they withdrew we went ahead and did that.”
Darling said the city pulled off some of the wire from one of its offices near the Anzalduas bridge.
He said putting the troops in the area perpetuated a false idea of what the border is like.
“It was kind of just piling on to that negative image of the border being dangerous and lawless,” Darling added.
An upcoming meeting will decide what to do with the rest of the wire.
Reynaldo Leanos Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ReynaldoLeanos