Rio Grande City Officials reject national emergency declaration

    Rio Grande City Officials reject national emergency declaration. (Source CBS 4 News)

    Local officials are taking a stand against the president's national emergency declaration.

    On Wednesday, the Rio Grande City commission unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the national declaration.

    Rio Grande City Joel Villareal called the declaration “immoral” and bad for local business. He said the national move paints the area as a dangerous one.

    “Rio Grande City is a very safe community and we are proud of that,” he said. “We need to be the ones who drive the narrative.”

    Although somewhat of a symbolic move, the resolution also can serve as a legal tool in the event of future litigation between residents and the federal government.

    “The fact remains that there are going to be private landowners that are going to be contesting imminent domain and the government taking private property for public use, and with that being said it's imperative that people know where the commission stands,” he said.

    Villareal said the emergency declaration wipes out nearly two-year’s worth of conversations he’s had directly had with members of congress, state representatives and border patrol agents.

    In these discussions, local officials have weighed in on their border wall concerns such as construction along floodplains in Starr county.

    With the declaration now in place, Villareal said he is not sure any of that input will be considered by the federal government.

    In previous reporting, border patrol agents have told CBS 4, many in the Valley may not perceive there to be a national crisis because many migrants who are detained “do not stay in the area.”

    On Wednesday, U.S, Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that the Rio Grande Valley sector had recorded its largest day in apprehensions--- exceeding 1,500 in 24 hours -– in almost five years.

    However, Villareal said those apprehensions don’t constitute a national emergency, adding that he advocates for more boots on the ground and technology instead of a border wall.

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