Boquillas is one such village. It was featured in the March 2002 issue of Texas Monthly as a stop on the tour of Big Bend National Park. You are supposed to be able to take a rowboat trip across the Rio Grande and then a short burro ride up the hill to Boquillas, where you can shop for native made gifts, drink a beer, or eat a simple meal. The town made its meager living off Big Bend tourists. Boquillas residents used to purchase supplies on the American side of the border, rather than drive 149 miles to the nearest store and gas station in Muzquiz, Coahuila. By closing this border and others, the U.S. not only took away their sole source of income, but also deprived them of the only place to shop — even if they could find another way of making a living.

Rotary Clubs are trying to deliver enough food to keep Boquilla residents from starving— and enough gasoline to run the generators that pump their drinking water. Last week, the Rotary agreed to spend as much as $15,000 to dig deep irrigation wells in three of the seven villages to help residents develop agricultural jobs.

The real solution is to make the bureaucrats and politicians see that their actions are starving to death small communities along the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. Those people who feel that the border crossings must be closed to prevent terrorists from invading America need to be reminded of how few Border Patrol Agents patrol the Canadian border versus the huge numbers working on our Southwest borders. The 9-11 bombers didn't swim across the Rio Grande and we shouldn't be punishing our neighbors and our allies.

Marvin Ivy is a retired Hondo police chief and Rotary member.

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