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By Gabe Gutierrez and Annie Rose Ramos
ROMA, Texas ̵
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.
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.
" As a child, the forest between my house and the river was like my playground, and in a sense this same area is still my playground, "says Moreno.
On his weekly kayak riding down the river, Moreno says he sees a part of life that we would not have access if they built a wall between his house and the Rio Grande.
But Moreno says he understands why border patrols want a wall. He admits he sees undocumented immigrants who cross the river daily and understand why people want the wall to To go up.
"We need a wall – or like most people now say – an" improved barrier "Ross Barrera, president of Star County Republican Party. "There must be some kind of deterrence."
But some locals worry that it could be built through neighborhoods closest to Mexico, breaking up communities and potentially forcing people out of their homes.
Roberto Salinas, the mayor of Roma, said he was worried that new fences in the area could create flood problems.
"I think for the people who live here, the biggest frustration is that they don't really know what is going on," he said.