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Texas border city fighting construction of border weight, fearing it could displace housing



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By Gabe Gutierrez and Annie Rose Ramos

ROMA, Texas ̵

1; This little border town is hitting a wall.

Last week, the border security agreement at Congress and signed by President Trump reached $ 1.35 billion for fences and barriers at the border. Apart from the national emergency that Trump declared to secure another billion for the border, the financing agreement said that a wall could not be built in Rome before there was more input from society. Local elected officials in several specific cities, including Rome, and the Department of Homeland Security now have until September 30, to reach agreement on how precise the barriers will go.

In Rome, there are absolutely zero barriers between the United States and Mexico. The city with its population of approx. 11,000 are right opposite Ciudad Miguel Aleman, Mexico. Without a wall, fence or even barbed wire to separate the two countries, the city is vulnerable to customs and border protection – but many in society disagree.

A group of unconscious immigrants depart over the Rio Grande in the United States -Mexico border on March 14, 2017 in Rome, Texas. File John Moore / Getty Images

The border wall to be erected in Rome will separate most of the community from the Rio Grande River. For people here, the river is part of their community. Children from both countries play in the Rio Grande while men fish from the riverbank.

"The biggest concern we had with the border wall is," Will it displace the residents of our community? "Said Freddy Guerra, Roman assistant city manager. The city is about an hour's drive west of McAllen, the largest city in Hidalgo County – the area where construction on new parts of border barriers was launched in February.

For more about this story, see NBC's "Nightly News" tonight at 6:30 pm ET

The Rio Grande Valley is the part of South Texas that sees the most illegal border crossing, although the total has fallen dramatically over the course of of the last two decades.

The 150-hectare land in Rome, belonging to Noel Benavides, 75, has been in his family since the 1700s, dreamed of giving the land to his grandchildren. The government will take part of his country away from him to build the wall. "" It is very personal, "he said." Just as it is for Mr. Trump. "

For Juan Moreno, who teaches mathematics at Rome High School, he fears that his son cannot enjoy the same upbringing he did as a child.


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