BROWNSVILLE – Crisis. Siege. Chaos.
These are words used by the President and some of his supporters to describe the situation on the southern border of the US, where migrants come illegally from Mexico to the country every day.
 Jaime Portillo, one of the ranchers managing the land near the Mexican border, uses another word to characterize the last months in the Rio Grande Valley: " igual " – as always.
For the people on the Old Military Highway, which stretches for over 100 miles along the border fence from Brownsville to Rio Grande City, the portrait of the Trump administration feels alienated from a dangerous border shaken by more and more illegal transitions.
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Politicians "exaggerate the whole thing," said Arnoldo Farias Sr., 85, a retired teacher who lives off the street of Portillo off Brownsville. "They want to see action, you know, and there is not so much going on here."
Portillo and Farias are ranchers, truck vendors, and retirees living on the Old Military Highway. Many of these frontier dwellers have been cultivating land along the fence for decades and working on ranches owned by their parents before them. They lead a peaceful life that crosses only occasionally with undocumented immigrants crossing the border from Mexico. On hot summer days they mow their lawns and repair machines, take care of sick relatives and drink coffee in small shops.
What they do not do, many of them say, is concern for a crisis at the border.
Sitting in his orange lawnmower one afternoon this week, Portillo, 67, said he was saddened to see children hurt by the "zero tolerance" of the Trump government Parents have been separated "A policy in which immigration authorities condemn all adults who come illegally into the country for criminal prosecution." (1
During the 2000s, the number of fears at the border has narrowed sharply, from more than 1 million in 2005 to less than 400,000 in 2017, according to US Customs and Border Patrol.
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George Garcia, 54, a school guard who still lives in his parents 'house on the Old Military Highway, recalls how many immigrants came to the US in the 1970s and' 80s, sometimes in groups "This area was earlier very popular, "he said.
In 1986, one of the busiest years, more than 1.6 million people were arrested at the border. But since the late 1990s, annual fears have only occasionally exceeded the 1 million mark. In recent months, border residents have said the number of customs and border guards patrolling the area around their houses on the Old Military Highway seems to have increased.
Customs and Border Guard is one of several local and national law enforcement agencies overseeing the region, where the crime rate is lower than in many major cities in the country. Houston's violent crime rate – a metric that includes murder, negligent homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – amounted to 1,026 per 100,000 in 2016, according to the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report, which spans an entire year. In contrast, the frontier communities of Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso and Edinburgh recorded fewer than 450 violent crime per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016.
Farias said he had been dealing with border offenses years ago, when he spotted two immigrants terrace, spraying themselves with a hose. Nobody ever broke into his house, he said, and he felt safe, even though the border fence cuts through his property.
Trump's zero-tolerance policy created "a humanitarian crisis, a moral crisis for the country," said Jared Hockema, chairman of the Democratic Party in Cameron County, which owns Brownsville. "But here in the Rio Grande Valley, it's not a crisis, it's just a safe area basically, we do not have the violent crime that many people think we have."
The locals who live on the Old Military Highway , commented on Trump's immigration policy very differently. One farmer said that the children who were separated from their parents still "did it" because they were detained three times a day. Portillo called the family divisions a "crime," though he acknowledged that "the law is the law."
The Texas Tribune's reporting on the Families Divided project is being supported by the Pulitzer Center, which will help to discuss it an important issue for schools and universities in Texas and the United States through its K-12 and campus consortium networks.
During the presidential campaign in 2016, Trump said the US was in the midst of a "border crisis". he tweeted that the country was "besieged". Despite the region's low crime rate, this dark view of the border has supporters in the valley.
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"That's what I call a silent crisis," said Ross Barrera, chairman of the Republican Party in Starr County. "We humans who live on the border, we see it every day, we see the helicopters of the National Guard, vehicles everywhere."
And even with the strong presence of the police on the border he said: "In my city we had Murder. "
Barrera lives in Rio Grande City, where the brutal murder of two school district employees shook local residents in 2016, he said. Two years later, the murders remain unresolved.
Such regular reports of violence are not enough to disturb Leticia Rodriguez, 68, a retired teacher from Rancho Viejo, who attended a rally in Brownsville this week to protest against family divisions protest.
Rodriguez grew up in Mercedes, where her aunt still owns a ranch near the Rio Grande, which separates the property from Mexico. Rodriguez has seen immigrants cross the line all their lives. But she has never felt that her hometown is in crisis.
"It's good," she said. "If you do not live here, you do not know."
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