Immigration leaves its mark on US elections: 'dividing population'

Immigration leaves its mark on US elections: 'dividing population'

International10 mart '24 13:00Modified on Mar 11 '24 at 5:47 PMTeacher: Lotte Van Gooverden

According to recent polls, immigration is the most important issue in the US presidential election. The Texas border town of Eagle Pass experienced a record number of immigrants in December. “People are still seeing the effects every day, because their city has become a sort of military zone,” says American correspondent John Postma.

Immigration leaves its mark on US elections: 'dividing population'

Many blame the problem on President Joe Biden. “Republicans see this as a result of Biden's 'open border policy,'” says Postma. Biden's fault or not, “If you look at the city from the perspective of the river, it's one of the ugliest things you'll ever see,” says the small-town American resident. “It looks like a battlefield; A military base.'

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The Eagle Pass International Bridge is a bridge that crosses the Rio Grande River and is therefore on the border with Mexico. According to Postma, it's always busy here, and the Texan is the lifeblood of the city. “When I look down, I see a lot of soldiers, police and barbed wire,” he says. “So this is where immigrants come to America by water.”

Good for the economy

Eagle Pass is in a dilemma because no one is happy with this military zone near the border and the river, Postma notes. Many prefer a humanitarian approach to immigration. But the city is also benefiting, says Pepe Aranda, former mayor of Eagle Pass and now a real estate agent. “All of this has had a very beneficial economic impact on our community. All the soldiers that have been sent here from Texas, Florida and other Republican states have really helped this community economically.

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Pepe Aranda, former mayor of Eagle Pass, is now a real estate agent.

The current situation also helps Aranda and his company. “But it's not right, and I criticize it too,” says the former mayor. 'Not only from an economic point of view, but also from a humanitarian point of view. It should be better balanced.'

Peaceful environment

The atmosphere in the city was calm last week, but it was clear that it was impossible to get to the river. “In addition to the fence, the wall blocks the passage of shipping containers,” Postma says. It's also a big problem for Jesse Fuentes, owner of a canoe rental company. He regularly tours the river, but his work is now on hold. 'Now I can't do my job. “If I could cross the river again, I would cry,” he says. “It's been a long battle.”

Fuentes is disappointed that he can't do his job right now.
Fuentes is disappointed that he can't do his job right now. “If I could cross the river again, I would cry.”

Media attention

Previously, Eagle Pass was a Democratic town, but that may change this year, according to a former mayor. “I believe our district will go Republican for the first time in history. It's because of the events in December and the media attention that comes with them.' According to him, whoever wins the election wins because of the perception of the people and the image presented to them.

'Trump paints a distorted picture of Eagle Pass'

American reporter John Postma

Migration flow has always been a problem, but it is amplified by social media and Fox News. “Eagle Pass is relatively safe and I've never felt unsafe,” Postma says. But Trump and other politicians portray it as too dangerous.

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Trump and other politicians use Eagle Pass as a platform and hold regular press conferences. Last week, Biden was at the border and Trump was at Eagle Pass the same day. “It's kind of a circus,” Fuentes says. “We have to keep this up for another eight months, can you believe that?” He says. 'Sometimes I wonder how it got to this point.' A lot of Republicans are going to town, “but they're only coming for the cameras,” Postma says. This makes people very disappointed.

Political rhetoric

This topic divides not only Eagle Pass, but the entire United States. Most of society supports Trump, but some see it as mere political rhetoric. “For example, this is because Trump blocked the recent immigration deal,” Postma says. In this way, Eagle Pass is a military zone of sorts, “spending millions of taxpayers' money and no real solutions,” he says.

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“Politicians are not really interested in solving this problem because they want it as an electoral issue,” concludes Arendt. The last major reform of the immigration system dates back to the Reagan era. “The lack of action from Washington has been a problem for a long time,” Postma said.

“If you look at the city from the perspective of the river, it's one of the ugliest things you'll ever see,” said a resident of the American city. “It looks like a battlefield; A military base.'

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