Mayor says lawmakers are afraid immigrants will become voters

Along with other Valley mayors, Brownsville's Tony Martinez is voicing his concerns about the ongoing immigration crisis.

Just back from Washington, Martinez is asking for three things right now: due process for undocumented children; a fair and speedier judicial process; and adequate funding.

"And that funding needs to go to immigration courts, needs to go to lawyers and I think many would be willing to do pro-bono work, Martinez said. We need facilities and all the humanitarian care that needs to be provided during that interim period."

Martinez is upset that congress has yet to agree on a border bill.

One thorny issue is reimbursing border communities who've spent thousands of dollars feeding and sheltering undocumented immigrants - many of them children.

However, one thing he doesn't want the money to go towards - if approved - is national guard on the border.

Here in the Valley, in Brownsville, there is no need, in my humble opinion, for National Guard, Martinez said. They are not running away from border patrol, they're actually coming here and saying, ~take me. TM

This mayor has traveled all across the country and said there are Hispanics all around - legally and not. He said lawmakers need to address the issue that is here and not going away.

"That's the problem with politics today, is we have more rhetoric than reality," Martinez said.

The Brownsville mayor said lawmakers are just "band-aiding" the problem and the only real long-term solution, is immigration reform. But he said too many are afraid of providing a path to citizenship.

"It's political. People don't want those people to vote, Martinez said. There's a certain party and a certain segment of that party, that's not being very embracing for these people that are out there hiding in the shadows."