ECTOR COUNTY, Texas — The Ector County Commissioners Court held a special meeting this morning to further discuss the ‘Declaration of Local Disaster to Secure the Border.’
Last week the commissioners voted to extend the renewal by seven days, but early Monday morning the commissioners passed the renewal by a 3-1 vote, and this time there was no extension as they approved the declaration indefinitely.
The state of Texas defines a disaster as the occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural or man-made cause.
A declaration of local disaster activates the appropriate recovery and rehabilitation aspects of all applicable local or inter-jurisdictional emergency management plans and authorizes the furnishing of aid and assistance under the declaration.
It’s uncertain what exactly this declaration entails but its intentions are to stop drugs and trafficking coming from the border into Ector County.
The security of our border has been in question, with drugs and trafficking providing the main concerns. People of West Texas have the potential to be impacted by this dangerous activity, and Ector County has made efforts to address the problem locally.
However, while Precinct 4 County Commissioner Armando Rodriguez understands that our area experiences issues such as drugs and trafficking, he doesn’t see the proof of an increase due to a lack of border security.
“I think this is only a political move because nobody has really brought any proof to me that it’s more drugs and trafficking coming in and more illegal people coming to Odessa and this area,” Rodriguez said. “Until they give that proof to me that it is in figures and number and everything else, that would be a different story, but nobody has brought it to my attention.”
Commissioner Rodriguez says this could have been done years ago, but with election day nearing, he views this move as a politically motivated one.
“Drugs, we know that drugs are coming into this area, but we don’t know how much and everything else,” Rodriguez said. “And the thing is, just to do this, it’s just, in my [inaudible], it’s a political issue.”
This declaration will stay in effect until a county commissioner or the county judge attempts to remove it. It remains to be seen what actionable moves will be made from this to help keep the community safe from potential increases in drugs and trafficking from the border.