It is with regret that I see my country closing borders and stopping immigration. I am a second generation American. My grandparents were immigrants who came to America after the First World War. When I was a child my older relatives spoke Dutch among themselves but only English to me. My generation was to be fully American.
Looking back I understand that I’m an American because my grandparents wanted a better life for themselves and their children. I’m grateful for what this country has given me. I hope other families will be allowed to follow a similar path to a better life in this country.
People who live near the border in the United States often have family and business ties on both sides. The border may be an exact line to some but it is also a region of cultural and economic exchange. We should be careful not to deprive citizens who live near the border of opportunities because others in different regions lack opportunity. We can and should address economic problems where they exist without depriving others.
We often choose to speak of the world using confrontational language. It is worth considering whether less divisive approaches might serve us better. There are ways to accomplish our goals and maintain security that are less fear based.
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The Devils River meanders through West Texas and finally reaches the Rio Grande at Lake Amistad. Devils River Canyon, which is partially flooded by waters behind Lake Amistad reservoir, is a spectacular sight. Vertical limestone cliffs rise a hundred meters or more above the river. The canyon can be explored by small watercraft for some distance upriver from the lake.
Updrafts along cliffs create a perfect environment for soaring birds. They can be seen rising thousands of feet catching thermals out above the arid landscape. You can watch the them starting out low to the cliffs, circling and rising to find warm air then disappearing to become small dots high above. There is something inspiring about this simple natural behavior. It is one of the many remarkable things to be found along the borderlands of Texas.
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An agave in bloom is a spectacular sight. Flower masts can tower twenty feet or more above the ground. Sadly, they bloom only once then die. Often the dead masts will remain upright and tall in the landscape for many years, providing safe nesting sites for birds and rodents.
For native peoples the agave was a multipurpose toolkit providing food, drink and fiber. Later inhabitants preferred to make tequila, mescal and sotol from various varieties of agave. They are the legendary firewater of desert America. Makes you crazy they say and don’t forget to eat the worm. Mescal and hot sun is a dangerous combination.