Border crisis worsens as Mexico dries out south Texas farmers

The border crisis continues to worsen as the Mexican government dries out south Texas farmers, those in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley argue. The situation has become so dire that state Democratic lawmakers have called on the Biden administration and Gov. Greg Abbott to take immediate action.

Democratic members of Congress also have called on the Biden administration to enforce a 1944-era water treaty to no avail.

Mexico is not upholding its end of a 1944 Treaty of Utilization of Waters, the lawmakers argue. The treaty governs water usage between the U.S. and Mexico including from two international reservoirs: Lake Amistad and Falcon Lake in Texas along the international border. Mexico has historically released water storage from Lake Amistad to Mexican growers, not to Texas growers, and the U.S. federal government hasn’t stepped in to enforce the terms of the treaty. Recently, Mexican officials killed any agreements to release water to Texans, even running ads in Mexico City to protest compliance with the treaty, according to news reports.

South Texas sugar growers said that without the State Department’s support, “all attempts to negotiate timely water releases for Mexico have failed.”

Last month, Texas’ last sugar mill announced it was shutting down as a result. Because Mexico wasn’t releasing water as required by the treaty, south Texas growers didn’t have enough water to grow their crops, forcing more than 100 sugar growers out of business, 500 workers out of jobs and the Rio Grande Valley to lose an initial $100 million in economic losses.

While the State Department hasn’t acted, Canales expressed confidence that Abbott would.