Rio Grande Valley | Texas Public Radio

Rio Grande Valley

Verónica G. Cárdenas for Texas Public Radio

The installation of steel rebar at a site south of Donna in the Rio Grande Valley marks the first border wall construction in Texas since President Trump took office.

Courtesy of Brownsville Historical Association, Brownsville TX

Hateful language directed at people of color has a long, dirty history in the U.S. and along the border.

Mexicans and Mexican Texans living along the border in the 1800s were frequently described as greasers, monsters, demons, bandits, and criminals -- not just by Anglo Americans newly settled on the border but also by journalists who were telling faraway readers about the supposed lawlessness and backwardness of the borderlands. Just being Mexican could get you killed. That’s a fear many Hispanics have today, especially after the Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso.


There’s a rich, but often unexplored, piece of Texas history along the state’s southern and southwestern corridors. Settlers arrived in the Rio Grande Valley hundreds of years ago, and the people of color — who called the region home long before the newcomers — became targets of racism. The discrimination these populations endured is still having an effect on minority communities today.

Omar S. Valerio-Jiménez explores this piece of Texas history in the book “River of Hope: Forging Identity and Nation in the Rio Grande Borderlands.”


Judy Perry Martinez
Courtesy of the American Bar Association

The new president of the American Bar Association recently completed a tour of the Rio Grande Valley. 

Judy Perry Martinez visited detention facilities, spoke with asylum seekers across the border in Mexico, and observed immigration court proceedings. Texas Public Radio’s Reynaldo Leaños Jr. sat down with her at an immigration office in Harlingen, where she talked about her second visit to the border in the last two years.


PHOTO BY KRIS ARCIAGA

Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress will visit the Rio Grande Valley later this week.

Office of Inspector General

Federal government inspectors released a report pointing to dangerous overcrowding at Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, a region where a majority of the migrant crossings are taking place.

The Government Accountability Office says the military isn't doing enough to deal with the effects of climate change, after more than $9 billion in hurricane and flood-related damage to three bases in less than a year.

U.S. Border Patrol agents have located four bodies by the Rio Grande in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, near the U.S. border with Mexico. Three of the deceased were children — one toddler and two infants — and the other was a 20-year-old woman.

"It's an incredibly heartbreaking situation, which seems to happen far too often," said Special Agent in Charge Michelle Lee of the San Antonio FBI office.

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

Until 2019, three metropolitan planning organizations, or MPOs, were responsible for the Rio Grande Valley's roadways and traffic concerns. But Gov. Greg Abbott said problems endured.

Mani Albrecht / Wikimedia Commons | http://bit.ly/2QBvUB9

Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley is getting its first border barrier. It will stretch 3 miles long and cost more than $43 million.

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