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DA Director of Administration Rosalinda Cantu at the podium.
Director of Administration Rosalinda Cantu presented on behalf of the DA.

Human Trafficking Unit is first in the nation to address farm labor exploitation

Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez is creating a Human Trafficking Unit within his office aimed to address forced labor in the agricultural sector.

Director of Administration Rosalinda Cantu presented the agenda item that was approved by Commissioners Court. 

The new unit will be funded through a Buffett-McCain Institute Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery grant of $356,783, funded by the Arizona State University Foundation.

“We are very grateful to The Buffett-McCain Institute Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery for funding this initiative and to serve as a pilot program that will be replicated in other parts of the nation,” said Rodriguez.

The objective is to end traffickers’ impunity by supporting a justice system able to effectively; fairly and efficiently handle forced labor and labor exploitation cases.

The initiative will be guided by a victim-centered approach and will work to increase victim identification, support investigations, and increase labor trafficking prosecutions. 

The grant funds will be used to hire two new positions: a Labor Trafficking Specialty Prosecutor to review, investigate and prosecute cases, and an investigator who will work with local, regional, state and federal law enforcement agencies to provide guidance and training.  A human trafficking task force coordinator will also be hired.

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Commissioners Court members.
L-R: Pct. 4 Commissioner Ellie Torres, Pct. 3 Commissioner Joe M. Flores, County Judge Richard F. Cortez, Pct. 2 Commissioner Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu, and Pct. 1 Commissioner David L. Fuentes at today's meeting.

Hidalgo County DA's office gets okay to submit proposals for grants to assist victims

The Hidalgo County District Attorney's Office is pushing forward after the unanimous approval from Commissioners Court to seek grant funding that will assist victims and aid prosecutors.

Many of the proposals are to seek continued funding for programs, said Victim Unit Director Rosie Martinez. They include Victim Assistance Program Grant; Border Prosecution Unit Grant; and Domestic Violence Specialty Prosecutor Grant, the Domestic Violence Unit Grant, and the Victims Unit Court Advocate Project Grant.

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Urban County Director Diana Serna
Urban County Director Diana Serna.

Urban County to receive GLO funds for housing recovery in 11 colonias

Hidalgo County Urban County Program has been approved by the Texas General Land Office as a sub-recipient for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds. 

The primary focus of the housing recovery program is to provide relief for residents affected by the 2015 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding events.

"GLO provided up to $2 million dollars for housing assistance," said Director Diana Serna. "The monies will go towards housing assistance for 11 colonias within Pct. 4."

Due to the limited amount of Disaster Recovery CDBG funding available, the method of distribution focused initially on the most affected areas of the county, Serna said.

The Urban County Program was created in 1988 by the County of Hidalgo and thirteen (13) participating cities. The purpose of the union was to enable the County to qualify as an “Urban County” by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This designation allowed the County to receive an entitlement portion of HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding based on a formula that measures population, poverty levels and quality of housing stock. This designation does not include existing entitlement communities such as McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, and Pharr. These communities receive CDBG funding directly from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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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, February 26
The Drainage District Board of Directors meets at 9:30 a.m. followed by Commissioners Court at 10:00 a.m.
Meetings are held in the Commissioners Courtroom, located on the first floor of the 
Courthouse Annex III at 100 E. Cano St. in Edinburg.  

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