Border Issues | New NY 23rd

“There is a crisis here but it has nothing to do with immigration.”--Gilbert Rebollar, a board member of the Brawley Elementary School District who is also an analyst at the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District.

Jose A. Del Real, in an article published in the NY Times on Feb. 10, 2019, “A California border town swept up in Mexico’s waste,” explains that pollution from Mexico affects communities in California. He writes:

Noxious sewage filled with feces, industrial chemicals and other raw waste regularly comes in through the New River, and through Calexico, leaving neighborhoods along the waterway engulfed in pungent fumes.

In 2017 I wrote an article titled “Bad bills have smelly consequences,”which noted Tom Reed’s indifference to the problem of cross-border pollution.

In 2011, Tom Reed opposed funding needed sewers because the work was on the Mexican side of the border. The consequences affect the California side–now sewage in the Tijuana River is a problem in Southern California.

Not all border problems can be solved by a wall. Violence and poverty in Central America and demand for illegal drugs North of the border are examples. Communities on both sides of the border have interests that need to be addressed with cooperative action. Del Real writes:

As Washington debates spending billions to shore up barriers along the 2,000-mile southwest border, many residents in California’s Imperial Valley feel at least some of that money could be spent to address the region’s public health threats.

When we spend, we ought to spend wisely.


  1. Calexico is 100 miles East of Tijuana.
  2. Some links in the 2017 New NY 23rd article are no longer valid. Tom’s 2011 press release can no longer be found on his web site.

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