Is Border Violence Here in Cameron County?

Cameron County officials differ on their views on the issue of spillover border violence.

According to Cameron County Emergency Management Coordinator Humberto Barrera, "someone may say there is no border violence, some may say it's here, some may say it's been here forever (or) some may say that it's barely starting."

There is no clear consensus on the issue, but Barrera said having differing perspectives is not necessarily a bad thing.

He said it still keeps the issue on the radar locally and hopefully, Barrera adds, it puts Washington officials on notice.

"There's absolutely a lot more border protection in Arizona and California than we (have) here - there's 14 border patrol agents per square mile in Arizona and here we have roughly about six, Barrera said. I think the federal government needs to step-up and help us secure our border a little bit better."

The different perspectives regarding spillover border violence will be showcased Wednesday during the premiere a documentary-style video titled Cameron County Ready.

Law enforcement officials from across the county, and other special guests are expected to attend the showing at the Harlingen Convention Center at 2 p.m.

The public is also invited to the free event to voice their concerns and opinions on the issue.

The video includes clips from deadly attacks that have happened in neighboring Mexican cities like Matamoros, and the Mexican government's approach to the problem.

Barrera said although those types of attacks may not be occurring on the U.S. side of the border, doesn TMt mean there is no spillover linked to it.

"We have cartel members that live in our communities, we have Zeta members that live in our community - that is real, Barrera said. That is here and that is not something that's going to go away any time soon. There could be cartel members here that aren't causing any trouble, but they are here."

Some may even consider the drugs and weapons constantly making it past the border, a direct aspect of border violence.

"The sheriff's office has confiscated thousands and thousands of pounds of narcotics, Barrera said. It isn TMt coming from a good cause - that's all driven by the cartels."

A University of Texas at Brownsville professor will also be speaking about the impact of border violence on children and students.