Texas Tribune Editor Evan Smith at round table discussion with legislators Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Eddie Lucio III, Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben O. Villarreal and UTB government professor Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera. The Texas Tribune hosts weekly discussions on statewide topics affecting Texas. Photo By Raul Garcia Jr.[/caption]
By Raul Garcia Jr.
The Texas Tribune’s high powered news journalism made a stop in Brownsville to talk immigration politics with local legislators, leaders in education and the community to get a sense of what is really going on in the Rio Grande Valley and to get the immigration conversation going.
“They brought up the issues that we normally hear about but they brought them up with much more information than what we usually get,” said Ana Jacobo, UTB junior government and communications major. “They were able to discuss them better and tell us more and inform us about it.”
Texas Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith moderated the discussion with legislators Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Eddie Lucio III, Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben O. Villarreal and UTB government department chair assistant professor Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera.
During the talk Dr. Correra-Cabrera called the immigration system dysfunctional. Sen. Lucio had just filed a bill on immigration that morning and Mayor Villarreal was still struggling with he fact that three people had drowned near the shores of his community trying to swim to the American Dream.
Set between two international bridges and only a short walk from the Rio Grande River’s Texas/Mexico border the hot-button state and national discussion on Immigration was taking place in front of an audience of almost 300 people and broadcasted live on the internet. It was held at the University of Texas at Brownsville on Friday February 28. University officials, professors, students, local media and business people were invited to the free public discussion that was open to the public.
The Tribune’s Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith didn’t hold back any questions about the economic impact, border security, the Texas governor’s lawsuit against the president’s executive order on immigration, college tuition or if the father and son legislators stood on the same side of the governor’s position on immigration as he moderated the discussion.
“Were just no different than anybody else, everybody in the room is a Texan and I think we all have a stake in the outcome of this issue and there is not going to be any solution any time soon,” said Evan Smith, Texas Tribune editor-in-chief. “But I think it’s important to have the conversation to get people better informed and better engaged.”
Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal said solutions are not complicated and he hopes discussions like the one he participated in with the Tribune will cut through the fogginess of the immigration issue and push it forward.
“What’s affecting Brownsville is affecting Rio Grande City. There are undocumented immigrants that are still coming through,” the Mayor said. “Immigration is not just about coming into this country, it’s about saving lives and giving life an opportunity to flourish.”
The Texas Tribune is an online nonpartisan non-profit news organization based in Austin, Texas. They report statewide issues on public policy, government, business and education. It was founded in 2009.