RICHARD PARKER Author/Journalist
The Rio Grande Is Dying. Does Anyone Care?
By Richard Parker
EL PASO — One of North America’s great rivers is dying.
Stretching nearly 1,900 miles from the Colorado Rockies to the salty Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande has been the stuff of Southwestern lore, sustained entire cultures and nourished wildlife in an otherwise unforgiving part of the planet.
The Rio Grande is the third-longest river in the United States, exceeded only by the Yukon and the combined Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Yet this summer it nearly stopped flowing from Colorado into New Mexico. The muddy water that does flow into Texas is something of a mirage, released from reservoirs or even imported from faraway basins. Drained by farmers, divided by treaty, feuded over in courtrooms and neglected when not pumped and drained, the Rio Grande is at once one of America’s most famous rivers and one of its most abused.
The problem is compounded by the techniques that farmers and cities have developed to get around such water shortages: When rivers run low, they can tap into deep aquifers or pump water from hundreds of miles away. All of which raises a tough question for a technologically advanced country like ours. If we don’t think we need the Rio Grande for its water, are we willing to save it for its own sake? [Read More]
Forget ICE, the real problem is CBP
EL PASO, Tex. -- BY DAY, HELICOPTERS fly overhead. Dusty patrol vehicles take up neighborhood parking lots. By night, klieg lights illuminate the new, 18-foot steel fence that snakes along the sand dunes. This strip of land thousands of miles long feels like occupied territory. And in a way, it is. I refer, of course, to the border between Mexico and the United States.
American Internment Camps
Tornillo, Tex. — Late last week a sprawling tent city opened in Tornillo, outside El Paso. It is surrounded by chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire and hemmed in between the Rio Grande and I-10. Like several others along the United States-Mexico border, the Tornillo facility is intended to hold children apprehended for entering this country illegally. But make no mistake: Whatever the government calls it this is an American internment camp. [Read More]