Monday, June 23, 2014

Balancing boom town oil budget on the border


Most of the 90,000 children who have cross the border illegally this year will be found by ICE agents on the streets of the colonias.

That's a figure that has increased dramatically from 2011 – 28,000 – and 2013, with about 40,000.

Half a million people live on the Texas-Mexican border in squalid and unsanitary conditions in 2,294 subdivisions called colonias - developments platted and approved by Commissioners Courts without even the most basic provisions for sewage, water, and storm drainage.

Most of these are located in flood plains unsuitable for building, areas which have no natural drainage, where raw sewage mixes with runoff to choke creeks and ditches, then flow into the Rio Grande, where border towns get their drinking water.

They are breeding grounds for disease. According to Texas Department of Health reports, “hepatitis A, salmonellosis, dysentery, cholera and other diseases occur at much higher rates in colonias than in Texas as a whole. Tuberculosis is also a common health threat, occurring almost twice as frequently along the border...”

The homeowners cross into America illegally in their quest for work, buy lots in these communities, but receive no guarantee of clear title as they make payments in owner-financed schemes.

They build their shacks piecemeal, as funds become available to build on with makeshift materials. The result is that building inspectors refuse to sign off on the structures in approval of grant and loan programs that would allow them to be improved with plumbing and sewer services. The people haul their water in 55-gallon drums, or pay tanker truck drivers to fill 2,500-gallon tanks. The effluent of their bathrooms? Who knows. There are everything from outhouses to septic tanks that don't drain into lateral lines.

Here's a clue. When you see a pile of toilet paper on the floor next to a commode, you are looking at a place where undocumented aliens who have crossed the border illegally go to relieve themselves. They are conditioned to do so because the sewer systems they use in Mexico and on the border will not accept toilet paper. They burn it, but if there's no receptacle in which to place it, they just throw it on the floor

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