By Pamela Cody
Special to the PRESS
The Texas Border Coalition held its annual meeting on October 24 at the Pearl South Padre Hotel, to discuss strategies and preparations for the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census.
TBC members came from all over Texas, including a large contingency of Texas city mayors, business executives and representatives from Immigration and Border Security. The group’s mission is to make legislative recommendations to help the Texas border region grow and prosper economically. The luncheon panel discussion was titled, “Counting the whole number of persons in each State: 2020 Census Preparations in the Border Region,” moderated by LeRoy Cavazos from Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages and the Bexar County Complete Count Committee.
Incoming TBC chairman, Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino, Jr. commented before the panel discussion began, saying “The TBC has been extremely instrumental in helping lead and be the voice for the border region over the last two decades. I think that we’re at a very critical time where the border has gotten a lot of attention, much of it negative, much of it unfounded,” Trevino said.
The judge went on, adding “TBC has been very important in making sure that we clarify and tear up any misconceptions and address any negative political rhetoric that is not based upon fact or truth. So, it’s incumbent on this group and myself as the new chairman to continue that advocacy on behalf of the entire border region.”
In his opening remarks, moderator Cavazos declared “Casting our communities at the border out of the shadows is where the root of the 2020 census discussion begins,” adding “because we, as a coalition, and as as a community of elected officials and corporate leaders, have a social responsibility to make sure that the most vulnerable in Texas are counted and to make sure we have a fair seat at the decision-making table.”
Panel member Sylvia Garza Perez, representative from Cameron County, said that over the last 10 months, the county has been working hard and trying to organize different community leaders throughout Cameron County in encouraging participation in the census.
“In 2010, about 10% of children under age 5 we’re not counted. For Cameron County being a very prominent population of people under the age of 25 and younger, young families are very important to this county,” Sylvia said.
Perez went on to warn her colleagues, saying “If we do not get the children counted in our county, we’re going to miss out on a lot of federal funding, especially for our school districts.”
City of Pharr representative Cynthia Garza Reyes commented from the discussion panel, saying “We’re in a different environment than what we were 10 years ago. We are assuming that a lot of the count will be done through our student population, so we’re working with each school district to come up with collaborative ways to make sure that each family is counted.”
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