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Commissioners Court with community representatives opposing a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
Commissioners Court passed a resolution opposing the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
Judge Garcia
Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia

County urges Congress to oppose citizenship question in 2020 Census

Several members of the Hidalgo County 2020 Census Committee expressed support of a Commissioners Court resolution in opposition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

"The inclusion of the citizenship question is expected to further exacerbate the historical undercounting of the Latino population throughout the country and in Hidalgo County," said Christina Patiño Houle, representing the Equal Voice Network of the Rio Grande Valley.

The Equal Voice Network, which is one of several organizations included in the Census Committee, is a coalition of eight nonprofit organizations with more than 300,000 members.

Houle was joined by representatives from La Union del Pueblo Entero and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez' office at Commissioners Court in support of the resolution. An internet-based Census, Census Bureau funding shortage, and anti-immigrant rhetoric pose new challenges for our region with now a greater challenge being imposed by adding a citizenship question to the Census Questionnaire, reads the resolution.

The resolution stresses shat the constitutional mandate is that all people residing in the United States be counted and that asking if the responder is a citizen will deter residents from responding and will negatively affect our region's congressional, state, and local representation, as well as funding for programs and infrastructure vital to the community's continued development.

"The constitutional mandate is that all people residing in the United States be counted. It says nothing about only counting citizens," said Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia.

Hidalgo County is the seventh most populous of 254 counties in Texas and has historically faced undercounts and other challenges during the census process.

"For every person not counted, the region loses out on about $15,700 over a 10-year span," said Garcia. "If ten thousand people are not counted, it would equal a net loss of about $157 million over a decade."

Houle said the county has made great strides to overcome challenges with the 2020 Census Committee.

"The County Judge's historical knowledge of the importance of the census has been critical in the process of preparing for 2020," Houle said. "The Equal Voice Network has been working closely with the County Judge to prepare for an accurate count in the 2020 Census and our collaborative efforts have been recognized: for the first time there will be an area census office placed in Hidalgo County, scheduled to open in 2019."

She commended the county for taking the lead in bringing together a coalition of city and community leaders as well as representatives from other organizations and entities with the goal of ensuring an accurate count in 2020.

"We applaud Judge Garcia and Assistant Chief of Staff Erika Reyna for their leadership on the census and the Commissioners Court for modeling how at the local and regional level," Houle said. "We can embody the principles of democracy this country was built upon, even when those values are being challenged at the federal level."

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Raul Silguero
County HR Director Raul Silguero.

Commissioners Court approves Step and Grade

A standardized classification and pay plan was approved by Commissioners Court, with implementation scheduled for the April 30 payroll.

"The objective of this plan is to have equal pay for equal work," said Human Resources Director Raul Silguero.

Silguero reported that the changes saved over $14,000 in salaries and expects the savings to increase as employees with longer tenure retire or leave the county.

Exceptions to the county's Classification and Compensation Plan include the Sheriff's Office, which has it's own step and grade plan, and about 337 positions overseen by the Board of Judges, Silguero said.

The new plan is the culmination of months of review and planning, which began with a committee comprised of Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios, Precinct 2 Commissioner Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu and County Clerk Arturo Guajardo Jr.

In reviewing salaries, Silguero found that most are at or below the mid-range for the position.

Implementation is pending approval of the plan from Civil Service Commission, which meets on April 19.

"I would like to thank you and your staff for all your hard work," said County Judge Ramon Garcia. "You all are to be commended for your efforts." 

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week observed

Over 40 community members, crime victim advocates and staff joined the DA in supporting Crime Victims' Rights Week with Commissioners Court.
Over 40 community members, crime victim advocates, and staff joined District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. and Commissioners Court in supporting Crime Victims' Rights Week, which is observed this week.
DA Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. at the podium.
DA Ricardo Rodriguez Jr.

Commissioners Court proclaimed April 8-14 as National Crime Victims' Rights Week and is dedicated to strengthening victims and survivors in the aftermath of crime.

Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. presented the proclamation reaffirming the county's commitment to assisting victims of crime.

“We are all working together for one ultimate reason, to help victims,” said Rodriguez.  “We now have 32 victim liaisons, which compromise the Hidalgo County Crime Victims Unit.” 

Years of investment in crime victim rights and services have developed a system that can help victims recover from crime.

National Crime Victim’s Rights Week provides an opportunity to recommit to ensuring that all victims of crime – especially those who are challenging to reach or serve – are afforded their rights and receive a trauma-informed response, reads the proclamation.

More than 40 people joined the Rodriguez and his staff in supporting the resolution, including families of homicide victims, local police departments, the Sheriff's Office, and community organizations.

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Did you miss today's meeting? Watch it at 9 p.m. Thursday on KMBH Ch. 10 or on the county's YouTube Channel!

If you missed today's meeting, you can view it on our county website or YouTube Channel by clicking hereYou can also watch today's Commissioners Court   and Drainage District meetings on KMBH TV, cable channel 10, on Thursday at 9 p.m. Or watch it on Friday morning at 9 a.m. on your local school district channel 17.

The next regular meeting of Commissioners Court will be on Tuesday, April 17

The Drainage District Board of Directors meets at 9 a.m. followed by Commissioners Court at 9:30 a.m. Meetings are held in the Commissioners Courtroom,  located on the first floor of the Court  house Annex III at 100 E. Cano St. in Edinburg.  

View meetings and find other news and events videos on our
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To view a copy of the agenda and related backup documentation for this meeting, visit the county website at
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