Immigration debate continues during protest at City Hall

After an hour and a half of discussion, city council voted to pass a resolution declaring Laredo safe.
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 10:18 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - Out of council on Monday night: is Laredo safe?

The question looms as some argue it’s not, while others argue it is.

After an hour and a half of discussion, city council voted to pass a resolution declaring Laredo safe.

District 4 council member Alberto Torres proposed the agenda item which came with criticism as protesters and counter protesters positioned themselves outside City Hall on Monday night.

Migrant crisis, humanitarian challenge, war zone, battleground… these are a few phrases groups on different political sides are strategically using to describe the immigration influx along the Texas-Mexico border.

A protest outside City Hall Monday evening is the latest of the unfolding situation.

”My great grandfather is a native from here. His family was here before this city became a city. I want to take my family kayaking, fishing, hunting and have access to the border. The border wall is not the answer.”

Valentin Ruiz, an army veteran, supports Torres’ resolution at Monday’s city council meeting.

“I’ve lived in Laredo for 28 years, and I love this city,” said Melissa Castro. “I never want to move. I do feel safe in the parts I live in, but to completely deny that there’s nothing going on at the border is straight out false, so I would have to tell Alberto Torres ‘you’re wrong.’”

Melissa Castro, an educator in Laredo, opposes the resolution.

It reads: “Discussion with possible action to adopt a resolution to set the record straight regarding recent allegations that Laredo is one of the battlegrounds of our nation’s border crisis, and any other matters incident thereto.”

This comes after members of the Texas Republican Party traveled to Laredo on Friday to hold a press conference on the so-called migrant crisis, where they were met with the No Border Wall coalition opposing their claims.

”Obviously there are folks that don’t understand it’s important to protect and secure your border,” said Allen West.

Texas Republican State chairman Allen West in Laredo, meanwhile three hours away in mission, 18 U.S. Republican senators took a boat tour along the Rio Grande River, also addressing the topic.

”We saw cages after cages after cages of little girls, of little boys lying side by side touching each other,” said Senator Ted Cruz.

Now, local officials are making sure they have a voice on the matter.

“Is Laredo safe?” said Mayor Pete Saenz. “Absolutely. But we have to be careful because we may lose that. I say that more so because of these stash houses we’ve seen.”

“Over and over, the image of Laredo is being trampled all over,” said Torres.

At the protest, signs on one side read “hate is not patriotic” and “this is our home. MAGA is the invasion.”

On the other side, “city council wants to put illegals first” and “Laredoans care about human trafficking. #Protect our borders.”

City council unanimously passed the resolution to declare Laredo safe.

They also passed a resolution to support law enforcement and to ask the federal government for more funding as they address illegal immigration.

Mayor Pete Saenz proposed adding what he called “virtual wall elements” such as lighting and technology along the border.

Although they believe Laredo is safe, some council members are concerned about a growing problem with stash houses and human smuggling.

Mayor Pete Saenz also wants to make it clear that Laredo is not a sanctuary city.

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