Texas pols say Washington ignores border region's ills

Houston, Oct 28 (EFE).- Despite President Barack Obama's call on Congress to go forward with immigration reform, politicians in Texas say that Washington ignores the real problems facing border cities.

One of those difficulties is local governments' lack of funds for dealing with the needs of the undocumented, former Texas state lawmaker Aaron Peña told Efe.

"We have a large number of the undocumented and the poor who receive medical aid and whose costs absorb the local budget. These include the thousands of children in the country illegally but who nonetheless go to public schools," he said.

"Counties don't have the funds their hospitals need to care for all who go to their emergency rooms for treatment. That's where a crisis exists that has not been considered at a federal level, or, if it has been, no one talks about it," said Peña, who switched parties from Democratic to Republican in 2009.

Pete Gallegos, a Democrat who represents Texas' 23rd District in the U.S. Congress, agrees with Peña about seeking solutions for the problem of border security, but without forgetting the need to grow economically.

"Those of us who live near the border want to be safe and sleep peacefully like the rest of the country, and the only way out isn't a political solution, but rather a practical solution that maintains a balance: immigration reform that takes into account the economic realities of border towns," Gallego said.

Around 1.7 million undocumented immigrants live in Texas, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.