In a move that looked calculated not only to break the Internet, but cable TV news as well, Donald Trump visited the border town of Laredo Thursday. The man described by the polls as the Republican presidential frontrunner has called for the building of a border wall and has made inflammatory remarks about Mexicans immigrating to the U.S. illegally. But when politicians visit the border, is it more about the message or the media coverage? The Standard spoke with Jim Darling, Mayor of McAllen, a border city about 120 miles southeast of Laredo.
Darling on the effects of border town visits from politicians:
“You know, they leave and don’t come back — and see some of the problems and challenges we face, and really don’t come back with any solutions except a press conference in tow. So we’d like to have some substantive discussions with people in relationship to what we feel are challenges and possible solutions for a border situation.”
Darling on the border policy he would like to see visiting politicians adopt:
“We have the consulate for Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in our city, and they have created a three-country proposal for economic development, education, healthcare, security relating to cartel activity, and then repatriation of people when they get deported back to their country, and we think — we think it’s something. We talked to Senator Cornyn; I delivered the message to him and the action material…. I think if you’re going to have a productive foreign policy, then you ought to direct it towards… the will of the immigrant as opposed to the way. The border fence is a way to stop them, but the will is what you really need to work on. And we think that’s what we ought to do as a foreign policy.”
Darling on what he would tell Trump if Trump visited McAllen:
“Have a responsible border policy.… You know, illegal immigration has kind of stabilized from a standpoint of the traditional people swimming across the river and coming up — those numbers aren’t increasing, and as far as numbers go, I think the increase there is the type of person coming across, and I think — you know, Trump got criticized for saying there is a bunch of bad people coming across. Well, that’s true to a certain extent, but it doesn’t mean that everybody in Mexico and Central America is like that, by any stretch of the imagination. So, you know, we’re kind of of a land of opportunity for lots of things — for labor and jobs, but also because of our drug habit in this country, we have people coming across that are involved in that kind of business.”