|English | Español||July 21, 2018 | Issue #49|
A Texas Divided Will Be Broken In Two
South Texas Residents Are Struggling, Together, Like Never Before, to Stop the Border Wall and Militarization Being Imposed from Up North
By Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr.
A section of the border wall in California.
Photo: D.R. 2007 Jay J. Johnson-Castro
In order for the US government to be able to realize the “manifest destiny” of “sea to shining sea,” it had to get the Republic of Texas into the union. Why? Texas was geographically situated between the then United States and Mexico. After a lot of politicking, in December of 1845, the Texas Republic became annexed as a member state of the United States. Within a few months, in the spring of 1846, on a false political pretext, US troops launched a totally unprovoked invasion of Mexico and attacked the Mexican military fort of Palo Alto in what is now Brownsville, Texas… kicking off the two-year Mexican-American war. The US troops then marched all the way into and conquered the Capital of Mexico, Mexico City.
As a result of this 1846-1848 war and the subsequent signing of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the image of United States map became pretty much as it currently appears. Even the shape of the State of Texas changed to its current famous look as a result of the Mexican-American war. What is referred to as West Texas is the portion that was added onto the State as a result of the war and the addition of the land from the Nueces River all the way to the Rio Grande and out as far as El Paso.
“South Texas” is really a term for Latin Texas…that area that runs from Houston to El Paso, with San Antonio being the Capitol City of Latin Texas, where the majority of the citizens are Hispanic. Just north of any of those cities along Highway 90 and I-10 we find a different demographic landscape. In fact, we could pretty much draw a line from Houston to El Paso, along Highway 90 and I-10 corridor and see the cultural divide between the Texans that love their Mexican roots and the Texans that reject, even deny them. South Texas proudly celebrates its Spanish-Mexican heritage.
Just like the Congress has rolled over and allowed the racist supremacists and the ruling elite of this country to destroy the unity of the entire country and turn it into a police state, the Texas Legislature has similarly allowed its fellow Texans of South Texas to be victimized by racism and xenophobia. As the Secure Fence Act was put into law, the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, campaigned for reelection based on promoting fear of the border, spending millions of dollars in TV campaign ads, standing on the banks of the Rio Grande vilifying the border region. Like it was some game, he also squandered tens of millions of dollars more of State funds to militarize the border with the Texas National Guard in what he dubbed Operation Linebacker. He spent further millions of State dollars on the border in failed surveillance technology.
Not only is South Texas the poorest and most neglected and most Hispanic region of the entire State, it is the poorest and most neglected and most Hispanic region of the entire United States of America. And because of this, prosperous central and northern Texas shuns South Texas and deprives it of the prosperity and affluence enjoyed by the rest of the state. Many parts of “anti-immigrant” central and northern Texas, like Farmers Branch, Irving and Georgetown, are cities that are legendarily racist-supremacist strongholds that today profile any person that doesn’t look “Texan.” Meanwhile, South Texas has to contend with military checkpoints, the doubling of the militarized forces and now the threat of the construction of a Berlin-like border wall.
Even more sinister is an apparent assault on South Texas by northern and central Texas. Here is a recent list of just some of the corporations and institutions, many of which are Texas based companies, that are receiving federal tax dollars to vilify and victimize the part of the state they consider least desirable and that have entered into contracts related to the building of the border wall and the militarization of the Texas-Mexico border.
Texas Division of Raytheon (Network Centric Systems)
L-3 Communications (Integrated Systems)
Northrup Grumman (Los Angeles, CA)
BAE Systems (Austin, TX)
SAIC of San Diego
Computer Sciences Corp of El Segundo, CA
America’s Border Security Group (Ericcson Inc., Plano, TX) (NASDAQ:ERICY)
Fluor Corporation (NYSEL:FLR)
SYColeman Corporation (A Division of LC Communications)
AEP Networks, Inc.
Texas A&M University
University of Texas (Austin)
Boeing (Seattle, WA; Secure Border Initiative/SBInet-“Project 28”)
Kellogg Brown & Root (Halliburton)
Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet) major partners
United Kingdom Home Office
A border wall must be built in order for all of these corporations and entities to receive the billions of dollars of funding. The Texas companies of central and northern Texas are positioned to exploit their fellow Texans along the border, ravage their environment and friendship. Already, they have craftily begun to destroy the border economy with all the confusion over identification and delays at the ports of entry. Mock Environmental Impact Studies are being done by the Texas firm, Environmental Engineers Management (e2M). Even universities in central Texas are complicit in the betrayal of the Texas border community.
There is one thing that the ruling elite did not count on, however. They did not factor in that the freedoms of speech, assembly, press and worship are still alive and healthy along the Texas-Mexico border. Using all the tenets of democracy, border residents are unifying their voices and saying, “Hell no! No Border Wall!” Rallies, protests and marches have been ongoing since the passage of the Secure Fence Act in October of 2006. This opposition is a historical display of solidarity. Environmentalists, economists, pro-immigration, farm workers, university students and faculty alike, historians, elected officials, human rights activists, indigenous rights activists, faith based groups, tourism experts, law enforcement agents, property owners, and grass roots of all sorts have all united their voices and resources to oppose the border wall.
More protests are being planned for 2008. Legal challenges against the dictatorial powers of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security are forthcoming. As Michael Chertoff pooh-poohs the range fire of solidarity and friendship all along the 1250 miles of Texas-Mexico border, the border residents are confident that they will see his back side, and not a border wall, when he is forced from his dictatorial post by this time next year.
Like the rest of our country, Texas really is divided. As we have seen, that division is geographic and cultural. If the central and northern regions of the State continue to reject the Hispanic heritage of South Texas and continue to allow the border region to be vilified, militarized and assaulted by corporatism, Texas will indeed break in two. The border region of Texas is rising up to the assault of their environment, their economy, their solidarity and their friendship. It is saying “Ya Basta!” – “Enough already!”
On the other hand, if all Texans were to reunite and mutually embrace its rich cultural diversity, a contagious pattern of solidarity could well be set as a precedent for the rest of the country.
Jay J. Johnson-Castro, Sr. is an internationally recognized human rights activist from the Texas-Mexico border that has walked some 500 miles in protest against human rights violations. He is the founder of www.FreedomAmbassadors.com, a national network that champion refugees and innocent immigrant children imprisoned in private “for-profit prisons.” He is also the founder of www.BorderAmbassadors.com, a network that opposes the border wall and the militarization of the US-Mexico border, while promoting the rich history, culture and geology of US-Texas border, which he calls the “Confluence of the Americas.”
- The Fund for Authentic Journalism