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Texas cuts aid to colonias after years of offering help

ALAMO, Texas — While the economy in Texas has boomed over the past 20 years, along the border with Mexico about a half million people live in clusters of cinder-block dwellings, home-built shacks, dilapidated trailers and small houses. In the past few months, Texas lawmakers cut university budgets that help give immunizations and health checkups to children and others in the colonias. Lawmakers who represent the border area, and groups that provide help for indigent people there, are worried that concern about the living conditions and health risks in the colonias is flagging in a state government now taking a tougher stance toward immigrants. Since the 1950s, Mexican migrants and families priced out of cities have jerry-built houses on cheap border scrubland from Texas to California, buying illegally subdivided lots from developers beyond the reach of utilities and building codes. Some shanties are made from scraps of plywood, with old campaign yard signs for siding and truck tires used as weights to hold down tarp roofs.

Article by By Paul J. Weber (c) Page One News - Read full story here.