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Contributors this week continued to offer varied thoughts on our political parties and officials. In addition, animal shelters and pet care continued to draw attention as well as immigration, border security and other topics.

As always, we appreciate all those who share their thoughts with their fellow readers.

Border solution: Enact legislation

In response to the Jan. 13 letter from Jake Longoria, for once I agree with Jake; we do have a migrant crisis. The solution: new immigration laws.

A quick lesson on our Constitution. The president, for that matter any President, does not pass legislation. Congress needs to pass “major” immigration legislation and has not done so for more than 30 years.

Longoria is clearly upset at President Biden. Where was the rage when we all witnessed crying infants being taken away from their mother’s arms? Then came the chaotic “remain in Mexico” policy, followed by locking up kids in cages. Three failed and embarrassing policies under Trump, which only created chaos for our federal agents.

He says our ancestors came across legally and we are now in America. This implies the “let’s burn down the bridge” mentality. Clearly this mentality is not working, just ask Greg Abbott about Operation Lone Star.

Texas Department of Public Safety officers work inside a fenced off Shelby Park, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Sam Owens/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Abbot’s failed plan will cost taxpayers $10 billion in the next two years. Yes, billion with a B, and those billions have not made a dent in the migrant crisis.

Those immigrants Abbot is busing to other states have legal status due to their asylum declaration. If they were illegal, they would not get past the northern checkpoints. Like it or not, they are following the legal process. Trumpers conveniently forget that these immigrants are following the letter of the law.

Only an immigration judge will decide on the immigrant’s asylum status; until then they are legal, period. Just the facts.

Several generations ago my relatives as well came across legally. They rode horses, drove gas-guzzling cars and used outhouses. Today we all use indoor plumbing, drive gas-efficient cars and hybrids. My point is that everything changes, and immigration laws need to change as well.

Perhaps the Republican Party needs learn that political grandstanding congressional visits to our beloved border are not the solution; passing immigration laws is the solution. The MAGA political visits and MAGA clown-show need to stop.

Jan. 6, 2021, should not keep MAGAs up at night. Donald Trump stated he will pardon all convicted insurgent felons and promises to be a dictator for a day! History has taught us: Dictators do not go away in one day.

Sleep well, MAGAs.

Joe Villarreal


No compromise with SpaceX

The editorial of Jan. 27 urging “compromise” on the SpaceX land swap with Texas Parks and Wildlife is certainly thought-provoking — but is it superficial?

1) Yes, it sounds like a good deal when you compare 477 acres received for 43 acres of Boca Chica Park land, but it’s an entirely different type of land: beach versus thorn scrub, of apples versus oranges. The type of enjoyment and recreation are entirely different, aren’t they? Want to go surfing in the thorn scrub?

2) Let’s talk about government entities that are supposed to work for the public and are funded through taxes on me and others. So, when the local public is in outcry about the proposed land swap because this particular parcel of their tradition and culture is being transferred to a private company, yes, it is justified.

The tracts in green show the land that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would provide to SpaceX in proposed land swap. The land in orange is Boca Chica State Park. (Courtesy: TPWD)

Public access to a beach area is denied, and its ecology is destroyed irrevocably by a private company, SpaceX.

The word “compromise” between SpaceX and the public for this proposed land swap is descriptive of “a compromise to a woman’s virtue.”

Diane Teter


No-kill efforts raise concerns

Bravo to Harlingen Mayor Norma Sepulveda for denouncing reckless policies at Rio Grande Valley Humane Society, including shipping dozens of animals across the country to a self-professed “rescue” where more than 100 animals were found in filthy and crowded conditions.

When organizations have a tunnel-vision fixation on maintaining “no-kill” status and nice-looking “saved rates” at any cost, standards go out the window and animal suffering and death inevitably result.

Last November, for example, it was reported that hundreds of guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters and rabbits were likely fed to reptiles after an overcrowded California facility with “no-kill” policies shipped them to an out-of-state facility.

PETA’s files are overflowing with other reports of animals that have been hoarded in squalor, left to starve, abused and doomed to other cruel fates after the shelters they should have been able to count on handed them over to anyone who would take them, including abusers and hoarders claiming to be “rescues.” Public safety also suffers when animal shelters go to extremes to move animals out of their doors or refuse to let them through their doors at all. A dog that reportedly had a bite history but was released by Austin’s taxpayer-funded “no-kill” shelter attacked and scalped a volunteer at another organization. And in Florida, after a publicly funded “no-kill” shelter twice refused to accept starving, neglected dogs from a resident, the dogs fatally mauled a postal carrier. The misguided push to “save them all” isn’t saving animals at all — it’s dooming them to terrible suffering and death. People who care should support open-admission, socially conscious shelter policies that place the well-being of individual animals above statistics, and work to stop animal overpopulation and homelessness at their source.

Becoming “no-birth” is the only humane and sustainable way to become “no-kill.” Lobbying for spay/neuter laws; making low- and no-cost sterilization services available; and ending unregulated breeding and sales of animals by pet stores, breeders, flea markets and puppy mills are the keys.

Teresa Chagrin

Animal care and control issues manager

Cruelty Investigations Department

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, Va.

War begins once again

Israel. Hamas. The hatred never stops. Fanatical illusions and delusions. An obsession with and addiction to conflict and hostility. A way of life, dependent on death and dying, in the “Holy Land” — rising from the bowels of hell, and nurtured and sustained by the evil that lurks in the heart of men without conscience. Good and evil — indistinguishable, interchangeable. And war, fueling the flames of love of sorrow and grief that blossom in in barren and abhorrent fields where grows the devil’s seed.

And, the war begins, again. And words flood the airwaves around the world: extermination, annihilation, termination. Sneak attack. Assault. Retaliation. Vengeance. Words that eloquently disguise disguise and camouflage the reality — butchery, massacre, slaughter. War at its very best and its very worst. Live and in real time. No winners, no losers, ,just bodies – young and old. Unrecognizable human carnage. And the sounds and the cries of joy and exultation, as bombs drop, fires rage and children huddle in the dark, and pray the national prayers of Israel and Hamas — blood, and only blood. Amen.

A. Garcia-Wiltse

San Juan

Democrats spur attack

Would anyone remain married to a spouse who continually lies to them? Once the bonds of trust in a marriage are broken, the marriage is doomed! Time to look for someone who is honest and has genuine concern for the marriage and well-being!

Is it safe to say that we are married to our political party’s as well? Yes, it appears that way, but divorcing them is a lot easier than divorcing a spouse!

I used marriage and politics to show the similarity in allegiance we give a spouse and our political affiliations. I used the example of a failing marriage to bring light to the lies we are being told and that at some point, we need to divorce away the liars.

The primary season results have put immigration concerns above our economy and have really brought out the lack of concern for our safety and our sovereignty as a nation by Democrats at all levels! The lefty narrative has changed in a week from saying our borders are secure to saying they are not secure and Republicans are not willing to close them!

Before the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries the border was secure! This president and vice president have not said poop about the millions who have crossed illegally, until now! Now that the issue is going to cost them the White House, they want to fix it but Republicans are in the way!

Sorry, Mr. Coyote in Chief, you own this problem! Joe Biden has the same immigration laws in place that Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump had! The laws have not changed! The policies have changed!

Obama was nicknamed “deporter in chief!” Trump worked on building the wall and imposed “remain in Mexico!” Biden on day one stopped all of this when he came into office!

Now, Joe is saying that the Republicans are stopping new legislation that by law would allow in 5,000 immigrants a day! Joe Biden in a news clip: ”Bring that bill to my desk for my signature and I will close the border immediately!”

This bill would allow 1,825,000 immigrants a year and would also come with a pathway to citizenship for many who have already crossed illegally! Can you believe this?

I first thought it was just about buying future votes. I was partially correct. A city councilman from New York nailed it and I will paraphrase! Blacks and Hispanics (minorities) are working and educating their way out of poverty so we need to refill those vacancies with more bodies that need our compassionate programs! In other words, justify the Democratic Party’s existence to continue financing a “class” system and a future voter in need of more government hand-outs! Money, money, money!

Elections have consequences! It is about power, control and lots of money!

Ernest Gorena


Show love to animals

On Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to celebrate the four-legged family members who offer us unconditional love along with wet kisses and wagging tails.

A female pit bull up for adoption investigates the dog park Saturday, July 8, 2023, at the Brownsville Animal Regulation & Care Center. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

In honor of the holiday, spend some quality time with the furry love of your life, whether taking a long walk outside or snuggling on the couch. Volunteering at your local shelter is another rewarding way to give back to animals in need.

Finally, consider adopting a pet to save a life and bring even more love into your home and heart.

Dr. Robin Ganzert

President and CEO

American Humane

West Palm Beach, Fla.

Migrants and milk

CBS recently reported that the U.S. has spent more than $36 billion on border enforcement. That doesn’t include the millions (billions) spent on wall construction, razor wire, etc. The same report told of how many dairy farmers have given up because they cannot find laborers to do the work 365 days a year.

Gee, I wonder what it would be like if we spent all that money taking in immigrants, distributing them throughout the U.S. where jobs need filling. Where we might provide housing and financial help until they can wholly provide for themselves.

Gee, I wonder what it would be like to help people rather than arrest them just because they want a better life.

Gerard Pahl


Trump blasted

Make America great again: sounds familiar. How in the world can a brilliant con man impress so many? P.T. Barnum and W.C. Fields are overjoyed with pride knowing their legacy lives on. Of course, too many are still being born every day. A helping hand manipulating so many is the news channel that has them sympathizing with the traitor.

Former President Donald Trump waves goodbye to the crowd that gathered at the South Texas International Airport Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, in Edinburg. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

It seems Republicans don’t want to solve the immigration problem. Donald Trump says it would destroy their bargaining power at election time.

Interesting that Trump had two years of total control of all three branches of government and accomplished diddly squat. Now he is promising to fix the immigration problem again. Go figure.

I guess President Biden won’t be closing the border if Congress refuses to send him new amended laws. He’s waiting.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is doing his best to blame President Biden while the justice system keeps interrupting all his drastic maneuvers to stop the immigrants, proving that our current laws need fixing.

Why are so many people coming down to see with their own eyes what is happening instead of sitting down and amending what needs to be done? Again, quit being ignorant, write to your congressman, order them to amend the current laws. I just hope that most who forgot take American history remedial classes.

Imagine coming to the border and getting free plane and bus rides up north. Sounds very inviting, don’t you think?

Ah, karma. The one wanting to put all his opponents in jail is now the one waiting to make an entrance.

Got to give it to the traitor, though, because he prepared himself adequately, assigning judges who would be beneficial to all his criminal activity that is spreading like wildfire.

Interesting that all the wimpy, spineless GOP candidates who gobbled his venom-spitting rhetoric were constantly degraded but willingly threw him all their support. Most all GOPers hate his guts behind closed doors, but what the heck — he is the best they have. It may be the greatest news because he lost by more than 7 million votes and now may lose more than half of his voters. Too many wise people will now vote with their eyes open.

Will a draft dodger, treason inciter enticing a bunch of losers to terrorize our nation’s Capitol, made a mockery of our election process, blasted our Department of Justice, FBI and CIA and betrayed his presidential oath make America great?

This was a proud and patriotic country until many were manipulated to justify the Jan. 6, 2021, outrageous, treasonous act. I’m still a proud, patriotic veteran who will always pledge allegiance to my country and Constitution.

Juan Gonzales


Social Security office criticized

On Jan. 25 the Social Security Administration released a blog post stating that the agency has increased its rankings on the Forrester’s 2023 Customer Experience index by 3.3 points. I find that incredibly interesting, given that the residents of the Rio Grande Valley are forced to do business with SSA offices in person. Calls to the general inquiry lines to each of the offices are routed to SSA’s national toll-free number for assistance.

Social Security states that the reason they are rerouting these calls is to free “front-end” employees to assist newly arrived “legal immigrants” obtain Social Security cards. This change came about in November 2022. According to my sources in the local SSA offices, the influx of expected visitors did not pan out as SSA expected, yet the calls from the public remain forwarded to this date.

As a retired SSA employee, I am well versed not only with the programs SSA administers, but also with the equipment SSA uses for their day-to-day operations. SSA tracks all the incoming and outgoing calls via their telephone system replacement project system. One of SSA’s “public service indicators” is to answer calls from the public. SSA tracks the number of calls received, answered and dropped. I have called SSA’s general information line several times during my consulting sessions with my clients only to be on hold on the 800 number for up to an hour at a time. When our calls routed to the 800 number are answered, we are told that the case is pending in the local office (tell me something I do not know) and that we must visit the office in person for information and or action. This is a horrible waste of time for anyone trying to do business via phone with border offices in the RGV. I reached out to the Dallas Region Public Affairs office, the Office of the Area Director for Area IV that directly oversees offices from Austin to Brownsville and any cities in between only to be referred to the local office for assistance. Neither the area director for area IV nor the local field office provide a logical reason for the continued need to “redirect calls” to the #800. In addition, I also reached out to the local congressperson for assistance in this lack of service issue. It appears that my inquiry landed on deaf ears since nothing changed. SSA serves the most vulnerable members of the public, the disabled, blind and elderly. These individuals have difficulty navigating SSA’s telephone system and have limited knowledge about SSA’s online services. They are forced to get out of their homes and go to a local SSA office, only to sit and wait for hours on end for assistance that could have been obtained via the general inquiry line.

It is time that calls be reverted to the local offices for proper assistance with local cases.

Please help me let the Dallas region know that we have had enough of the lack of service in the Rio Grande Valley via telephone calls. Public service employees are just that — they are there to serve the public.

Martin Tomas Olguin


Broken animal control system

Your editorial about problems with no-kill animal shelters (Feb. 3) is a good start. The solution requires support and education. Think about low-cost solutions to spay and neuter. And help county implement better animal control protocols in conjunction with the shelters.

It’s a broken system and will continue without public education and financial assistance.

Audrey Martin


Fund programs for immigrants

The multibillion-dollar 2024 budget for the Department of Homeland Security is being negotiated in Congress. Perhaps, in the long term, bipartisan legislation will be enacted to better address the multitude of border-related issues impacting Texas. In the meantime, humane, sustainable migration practices are essential.

Our elected officials, including Sen. John Cornyn, should support, not cut, the following programs:

$20 million for alternatives to detention case management to fund community-based programs that provide basic human necessities to asylum seekers.

$800 million for shelter and services programs that provide services to migrants who have been released from custody and are awaiting their immigration proceedings.

Congress must invest in these humane, community-based migration management programs.

Connie Crawford

El Paso

Troubled by coach

I am writing to commend the successful organization of the recent junior high district tennis tournament held at the Harlingen H-E-B Tennis Center, an event that showcased the talent and sportsmanship of our junior high tennis players. The atmosphere was electric, and it was heartening to witness the dedication of both players and coaches.

However, amid the spirited competition, I couldn’t help but be troubled by the presence of one coach whose intimidating demeanor cast a shadow over the local junior high tennis tournaments, affecting not only the players but also the parents and coaches of other schools. A coach should be an exemplary figure for our children and the community, fostering a positive environment for growth and development. I believe it’s time for Harlingen CISD and the community to address this issue and examine the impact of such behavior on our young athletes. We need a shift away from the outdated, aggressive coaching mentality that has lingered for too long.

Let’s strive for a new era where coaches are held accountable for their actions, creating a nurturing environment that encourages the true spirit of sportsmanship.

Arnoldo Arteaga


Construction draws attack

Finally they are going to repave International Boulevard between Southmost Boulevard and the interstate highway in Brownsville. Sounds like a plan.

But here is the problem. They went about installing concrete barricades, construction barriers and barrels, and did a fine job of that. As I write this letter it’s been a month since the barricades were set up. Do any of us see any construction going on and construction workers? Nada!

So why did they set up all those construction barricades if no construction work was to be done? But this is Brownsville; what can we expect?

We are the butt of the Valley, with the worst city leadership in South Texas, the worst Department of Transportation management in South Texas and mostly the lower RGV.

Citizens in Brownsville want results. And if the people who are managing the DOT can’t handle it, let the state find someone who can do a better job.

I predict paving and whatever else is needed to fix International Boulevard will probably begin in late April and be done by Christmas. So expect long, long delays for the next six months.

Of course, those 18-wheelers keep trucking down International Boulevard, making wait times even a longer. Let’s all thank the DOT and its leadership.

Abel R. Moreno


Editor’s note: We welcome your letters and commentary. Submissions must include the writer’s full name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters of 200 words or fewer will be given preference. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar and clarity. Letters may be mailed to P.O Box 3267, McAllen, Texas 78502-3267, or emailed to [email protected].