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U.S. border towns that would be affected by the border wall

  • U.S. border towns that would be affected by the border wall
    1/ Tomascastelazo // Wikimedia Commons

    U.S. border towns that would be affected by the border wall

    For many Americans, President Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall on the nation’s southern border represents an ideological debate about changing demographics and funding priorities in the U.S. But for the people—and the flora and fauna—living on the border, the wall would have much more tangible effects on their everyday lives.

    The U.S. border with Mexico is nearly 2,000 miles long and has more than 10 million people living within its vicinity. Many western parts of the border in California, Arizona, and New Mexico already have existing barriers such as walls, fences, and barbed wire. In Texas, however, most of the border spans vast and remote land—much of which is privately owned and without a manmade barrier.

    In Washington, Trump continues to push for the construction of new barriers in Texas while claiming more border walls will lower crime rates. Opponents argue that the issue of border security is far more complex, and reject what they view as racial malice associated with Trump’s wall proposal. Other detractors point to the potential for additional border wall construction to adversely impact the many wildlife refuges, state parks, and nature preserves along the Texas-Mexican border—as well as sites of historical and cultural significance.

    To explore the apolitical, real-world effects of Trump’s proposed barriers, Stacker has crunched data from 10 towns across southern Texas’ border. Population estimates and median household incomes are provided using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Read on to learn about 10 towns that would be affected by the border wall.

    ALSO: Famous border walls throughout history

  • Alamo, TX
    2/ Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service // Wikimedia Commons

    Alamo, TX

    Population est. (2017): 19,679
    Median household income (2013–2017): $36,239
    Foreign born: 24.7%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 96.1%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 87.1%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 12.7%
    —Asian alone: 0%
    —Black or African-American alone: 0.3%
    —Two or more races: 0.5%

    The town of Alamo is located in the Rio Grande Valley just north of the Mexican border. Known as the “Refuge to the Valley,” Alamo is home to the 2,088-acre Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, which was established in 1943 for the protection of migratory birds and the preservation of biological diversity. Many local environmental activists and opponents of President Trump's border wall fear new barriers will require natural flora to be cleared and will disturb the wildlife living in the protected area.

  • Brownsville, TX
    3/ Nofx221984 // Wikimedia Commons

    Brownsville, TX

    Population est. (2017): 183,299
    Median household income (2013–2017): $35,636
    Foreign born: 29.5%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 95.4%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 93.9%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 4.8%
    —Asian alone: 0.7%
    —Black or African-American alone: 0.4%
    —Two or more races: 0.6%

    Brownsville is one of the southernmost cities in the U.S. and is located on the western Gulf Coast in south Texas. With the slogan “on the border, by the sea,” the town has a port of entry that connects to the town of Matamoros in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The Trump administration's border proposal would add 44 miles of new barriers to the borders in Brownsville and neighboring towns. Residents of Brownsville—many of whom live just a few hundred feet from Mexico—have expressed concern over the government's use of eminent domain and new barriers dividing communities.

  • Donna, TX
    4/ Congressman Ruben Hinojosa // Wikimedia Commons

    Donna, TX

    Population est. (2017): 16,638
    Median household income (2013–2017): $30,066
    Foreign born: 18.9%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 87.1%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 92.3%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 6.5%
    —Asian alone: 0.5%
    —Black or African-American alone: 1.4%
    —Two or more races: 2.6%

    Donna is a small town with a historic ranching community that has become a major base in the U.S. military's deployment to the border. The town connects to the Mexican city of Rio Bravo in Tamaulipas and prides itself on being a fast and easy crossing for international travelers—you can even watch a live feed of the port of entry. Donna is one of the towns included in the government's plan to build concrete levee walls along the border in February 2019. Local residents have noted the increased militarization of their community, which welcomed nearly 6,000 troops in November—more than a third of Donna's entire population.

  • Harlingen, TX
    5/ Staff Sgt. Aimee Fujikawa // Flickr

    Harlingen, TX

    Population est. (2017): 65,467
    Median household income (2013–2017): $38,122
    Foreign born: 14.9%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 92.2%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 80.5%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 16.8%
    —Asian alone: 1.2%
    —Black or African-American alone: 1%
    —Two or more races: 1.2%

    Harlingen is a central town in the Rio Grande Valley and just 30 miles from the Gulf Coast. Local residents felt the impact of President Trump's border policies when U.S. troops began to arrive at the city's airport in November 2018. The increased military presence came just before the midterm elections and was a show of force against a caravan of Central American migrants, whom Trump characterized as an "invasion of our country.” Harlingen also hosts the annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, which draws a large ecotourism crowd; many of whom have objected to increased border wall over environmental concerns.  

  • McAllen, TX
    6/ U.S. Customs and Border Protection // Wikimedia Commons

    McAllen, TX

    Population est. (2017): 142,696
    Median household income (2013–2017): $45,057
    Foreign born: 27.4%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 80.1%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 85.2%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 10.9%
    —Asian alone: 2.6%
    —Black or African-American alone: 1%
    —Two or more races: 1.2%

    McAllen is the largest town in Hidalgo County and sits right across the border from the Mexican city of Reynosa. With a large farming economy, the town has had a long history of cross-border trade with Mexico. McAllen was thrust into the national spotlight when President Trump visited the town to make his case for the border wall in early January. After the visit, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling told NPR, “... when the president went through our city, it was pretty well half and half people saying build the wall and that are saying we don't want a wall.” In September 2017, the McAllen city council passed a resolution against the construction of the border wall, saying it would displace families and disrupt wildlife.

  • Mission, TX
    7/ Onleal91 // Wikimedia Commons

    Mission, TX

    Population est. (2017): 84,424
    Median household income (2013–2017): $45,792
    Foreign born: 28.7%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 90.7%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 88.6%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 9.5%
    —Asian alone: 1.9%
    —Black or African-American alone: 0.1%
    —Two or more races: 0.7%

    Mission is a midsize town in Hidalgo County that has been at the center of several facets in the debate over expanded border walls, including conservation concerns and eminent domain. The town is home to the National Butterfly Center, which publicly denounced the wall saying it would “eradicate an enormous amount of native habitat, including host plants for butterflies, breeding and feeding areas for wildlife.” There is also a historic chapel in Mission where the Trump administration hopes to build a wall. The dispute has led to a major court battle between the government and local Catholic leaders over the seizure of private land for the wall. A decision in the case could have broad implications for local landowners worried about losing their private property.

  • Progreso, TX
    8/ Donna Burton // Flickr

    Progreso, TX

    Population estimate (2017): 5,938
    Median household income (2013–2017): $43,036
    Foreign born: 33%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 83.8%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 98.9%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 1.1%
    —Asian alone: 0%
    —Black or African-American alone: 0%
    —Two or more races: 4.2%

    Progreso is a small Texas town with an increased military presence as part of President Trump's order to militarize the border. The town is home to the Progreso International Bridge, which connects with the Mexican city of Nuevo Progreso, and has been a point of entry for pedestrians, cars, and trucks since 1952. The government included Progreso in its plan to construct eight miles of a levee wall system through the area. In the Progreso Lakes neighborhood, which follows the winding Rio Grande river, extensive fencing already exists and residents have noted that increased barriers could block farmers' access to their land.

  • Rio Grande City, TX
    9/ Donna Burton // Flickr

    Rio Grande City, TX

    Population est. (2017): 14,518
    Median household income (2013–2017): $35,812
    Foreign born: 23.7%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 95.3%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 99.1%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 0.7%
    —Asian alone: 0%
    —Black or African-American alone: 0.1%
    —Two or more races: 0.8%

    Rio Grande City is a historic border town and the center of the Los Caminos del Rio Heritage Corridor, which was established by the Texas Historical Commission to preserve historic sites along the Texas-Mexican border. Local officials have expressed concern that additional border walls will increase flooding, while ranch owners have resisted efforts by the government to take control of private property for the wall.


     

  • Roma, TX
    10/ Wbaron // Wikimedia Commons

    Roma, TX

    Population est. (2017): 11,425
    Median household income (2013–2017): $20,291
    Foreign born: 42%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 94.6%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 99.8%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 0.2%
    —Asian alone: 0%
    —Black or African-American alone: 0.1%
    —Two or more races: 0.5%

    Roma is a small border town along the Rio Grande river that connects to the Mexican town of Ciudad Miguel Alemán by way of the Roma-Ciudad Miguel Aleman International Suspension Bridge. Roma has long been a thoroughfare for illegal border crossing and smuggling efforts. President Trump's border wall proposals have been hotly debated in Roma, especially among those who live or own land directly on the border and fear the government will uproot them to build the wall.

  • Weslaco, TX
    11/ sevenMaps7 // Shutterstock

    Weslaco, TX

    Population est. (2017): 40,358
    Median household income (2013–2017): $37,558
    Foreign born: 18.9%

    Resident's census responses (two or more can be selected):
    —White alone: 88.4%
    —Hispanic or Latino: 87.7%
    —White alone, not Hispanic or Latino: 11%
    —Asian alone: 1.1%
    —Black or African-American alone: 0.3%
    —Two or more races: 2.1%

    Weslaco is a border town known for its lush biodiversity like many of the cities and towns along the Texas-Mexican border. The town surrounds the 15-acre Frontera Audubon nature preserve, which provides a safe habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Weslaco is one of the towns included in the government's plan to build concrete levee walls along the border in February 2019, which residents worry will disturb local fauna.

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