County Judge, Veronica Escobar

  • Border issues: Time for feds to hear our concerns
  • El Paso Times Staff

  • Some of our elected officials continue to join local activist groups in ringing the federal government's doorbell -- we want sitdowns in Washington, D.C. regarding border and immigration concerns.

  • Sometimes, the door is not opened. Sometimes, the doorbell rings on deaf ears, such as our protest of the border wall being constructed, the long wait times on our international bridges and our concerns about who's to pay the Thomason Hospital medical bills for non-U.S. citizens who are harmed in the Juárez drug wars.

  • We were there again this week. Our group was to ask for more government help in improving community security and reducing civil-rights violations along the border.

  • Again, will it be to no avail?

  • The wall is going up in El Paso, like it or not. We are still getting drug-war casualties from Juárez.

  • Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has gone so far as to tell us to "grow up" and stop complaining about wait times on international bridges.

  • Do we stand a better chance of being heard when President-elect Barack Obama is seated in the Oval Office come Jan. 20?

  • This week, our contingent to D.C. hoped to talk border issues with Obama's transition team, but couldn't get an audience. So they talked to some senators and U.S. representatives.

  • Among those representing El Paso were our County Attorney José Rodríguez and Sheriff-elect Richard Wiles. Their jobs are directly related to border and immigration issues.

  • And perhaps those who have the most to say were our border-immigration advocacy groups that made the trip. Included were representatives from the Border Network for Human Rights, the Arizona Border Action Network, The Border Action Network and the National Immigration Forum.

  • County Commissioner Veronica Escobar and West-Central city Rep. Susie Byrd also made the trip.

  • It's important that we keep ringing that bell. We live here and border-immigration issues impact our lives.

  • We ask the new Obama administration to open the door the next time the doorbell rings.

  • County Judge
    Veronica Escobar