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New York City’s mayor Eric Adams canceled a trip to the Rio Grande Valley this past weekend over concerns of cartel-related violence here. Guess he hasn’t read FBI reports that consistently show this is one of the safest regions in the United States.

It’s just the latest example of misperceptions and bad information that plague this area. Unfortunately, that misinformation governs many policies that affect the Valley and its residents’ lives every day.

To be fair, Adams’ last-minute decision to cancel his trip to Brownsville, McAllen and across the border on Saturday isn’t entirely his fault. His office said he was influenced by State Department warnings of violence in Mexico, which it said he planned to visit as well. Crime reports consistently show that life on this side of the Rio Grande is much safer — safer, in fact, than New York City and many other U.S. cities. Adams could have stayed on the American side, and gathered information that could have helped him better understand the immigration that affects his city as much as it does those here in the Valley.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams gestures as he attends a news conference at City Hall in New York, Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP Photo)

At first glance, some might question the value of the mayor’s visit to the area, in light of the many visits from officials from across the country that are of little value to anyone other than themselves. Most are mere photo ops and grandstanding sessions meant to raise political support back home. Adams, however, apparently was coming for the right reason — to gather information about how the border situation actually is and talk to people who deal with the stream of immigrants and refugees every day. He was invited to the Valley by Sister Norma Pimentel of Catholic Charities and planned to visit with her and staff at the Respite Center in McAllen, and make a similar trip to Brownsville.

Adams and Sister Norma reportedly have communicated with each other about the immigration issue and addressing the needs of both the migrants and those who provide services to them.

Such a trip is beneficial for the New York City mayor, whose city is one of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s favorite dumping grounds for migrants he ships out of this state. He has bused or flown more than 180,000 to New York City alone over the past two years, disrupting that city’s budget and resources much like the initial flow of immigrants affects cities here in the Valley.

In fact, such a trip would benefit any of the dozens of officials, from presidents on down to candidates for office in areas that aren’t significantly affected by immigration but who want to use the it as a campaign issue.

Real fact-finding missions to the Valley — if officials are receptive to the information they receive — would benefit them as well. They also would affect the immigrants whose treatment often is determined by biases and misperceptions.

They also could help the Rio Grande Valley overcome similar misperceptions about the region itself. If they cause a mayor to forgo a short visit to the area, they also could cause business investors to decide against relocating or expanding to an area that not only could improve our area’s economy but also create business opportunities that would benefit them as well.