Monday, March 20, 2017

Border Patrol presence turns heads, creates worries at the Rodeo

It started with what looked like an unnerving photo: windowless Border Patrol vans parked outside the Houston Rodeo. And as the image spread online in the run-up to Sunday's Go Tejano Day, it seeded fear and rumors of roundups in the local Hispanic community in light of President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown. "They don't need to be spreading fear or instigating further tension between people with different skin tones," said Yvonne Hernandez, a Houstonian who comes from a family of immigrants. But the picture didn't give the full story; U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had simply turned up to bolster recruiting efforts. Even so, some locals were angry and nervous over the agency's unexpected presence at a family event. "It's kind of rude," said 26-year-old Jake Johnson as he walked past the Border Patrol's NRG Center table during Sunday's Tejano extravaganza, which narrowly broke the rodeo's concert attendance record despite the climate of uncertainty in the Houston immigrant community. Just days earlier, Philadelphia announced the cancellation of its main Cinco de Mayo celebration amid fears of ICE raids. The federal agency confirmed Friday that it wasn't attending the rodeo for recruiting or enforcement purposes. This is the second year CBP set up a recruiting booth at the annual event, according to a statement from the rodeo. But in light of Trump's hard-line anti-immigration rhetoric and deportation promises, some locals found this year's showing troubling...more

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