Vince Perez is correct in wanting to end the jail contract with the federal government. There is some controversy over whether the County is losing money in the deal, although it is likely that it is. However, Perez’ call to end the County’s agreement to jail federal prisoners exposes two dirty secrets that Veronica Escobar has been trying to distract you from. They are the artificial El Paso economy propped up by federal dollars and the duplicity of pretending that El Paso is friendly to immigrants.
As most of you heard through the news media outlets, Vince Perez wants to end the contract with the U.S. Marshals Service to keep federal prisoners in the county jails. According to Perez, the County loses millions each year. Perez argues that the County lost over $17 million since 2012 in the arrangement.
Vince Perez is absolutely correct in wanting to terminate the agreement.
Unfortunately, it is not going to happen.
It is not going to happen because doing so would hurt the political careers of many of El Paso’s politicos.
Notice the two politicos that came to the immediate defense of the agreement, Veronica Escobar and Richard Wiles. Wiles, the sheriff, defended the agreement by arguing that to end the contract would kill two hundred jobs. Veronica Escobar, for her part, argued that killing the program would cause “a domino effect.”
According to the El Paso Times, the federal prisoners are “immigration-related”. Perez called it “hypocritical” for the County to sue the state over Senate Bill 4 while jailing immigration-related prisoners.
First, let’s look at the 200 jobs. Richard Wiles and Veronica Escobar admit that the 200 jobs are there because of the federal contract. Whether the county is losing money on the agreement is immaterial because the 200 jobs would not exist were it not for the federal monies.
Here is the duplicity. Federal monies are tax dollars. Paying for 200 jobs with federal dollars artificially creates a larger economy and a lower unemployment index. Multiply that concept across other dubious projects, like the children’s hospital, and you quickly realize that the El Paso economy is artificially propped up by federal dollars. That would be your tax dollars.
But more importantly is the question of whether the artificial economy is sustainable over the long term. Eventually the tax dollars are going to dry up leaving El Paso’s economy destroyed.
It is this duplicity of federal dollars that also created the duplicity of El Paso as an immigrant friendly city.
Veronica Escobar is caught between two realities. The need to keep the federal spigot flowing while keeping her minions in the grassroots organizations and nonprofits believing that she works for them. She needs her army of paid volunteers (via nonprofit tax dollars) to get her elected when she runs for office again.
Therefore, she is caught between having to create the illusion that El Paso is against SB4 to keep the fantasy that El Paso is friendly towards immigrants while keeping the federal dollars flowing to keep the deception of a vibrant economy.
Now you understand why the Texas Attorney General added El Paso to the sanctuary city lawsuits and why Escobar is aghast about that. The Texas government is wise to the Escobar duplicity and has called her on it. Escobar must now figure out how to get out of the predicament — if her dream to be in Congress is to materialize. She needs to convince you that El Paso is immigrant friendly while at the same time convincing the Texas government, and by extension, the federal government that El Paso is ready to be as draconian as it needs to be to keep the federal tax dollars rolling in.