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Some Hispanics in Texas attracted to Republicans share immigration grievances

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The chasm between undocumented Central American migrants crossing the border and Latino residents of the valley is deep and wide.

Many residents are Mexican Americans who have lived in the area for four or five generations, or proudly claim that their parents and grandparents came to the United States legally. They know both Border Patrol agents and undocumented Mexican immigrants who have lived and worked in border towns for years. Those who are Republicans say they don’t view their views on immigration as hypocritical or anti-Hispanic. Instead, they see themselves as a bulwark for law and order. A few thousand Border Patrol agents live and work in the area, many of whom are Hispanic, adding to a pro-law enforcement ethos that manifests in churches, schools and local politics.

“We’re in a war – a war of ideas,” said Jessica Martinez, 33, a stay-at-home mom from Brownsville who said she never voted until she voted for Mr Trump in 2020 , after being frustrated. with the implacable indignation against him of the liberals. “That is how we Christians see it. We feel attacked.

In Harlingen, Mr. Cabrera transformed the entrance to the church into a commercial space. He exhibits and sells T-shirts that read Make America Godly Again and Make America Repent. For years, he said, he avoided talking about politics from the pulpit. But last year he hosted several Republican leaders at the church, including Mr Abbott.

“I want to bring God back into politics,” Mr. Cabrera said. “And so that’s what I do.”

Joe Cadriel, a 57-year veteran of the Gulf War Desert Storm and retired social worker, rarely placed campaign ads on his lawn. But he made an exception for Ms. Flores, the Republican candidate for Congress from Brownsville.

Mr Cadriel and his wife, Diana, a retired educator, both voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and then voted for Mr Trump four years later, believing he would better protect the southern border, just 10 miles from their Weslaco House.

The couple grew up in the Rio Grande Valley as children of conservative Democrats, and they nurtured a proud independent streak. Mr Cadriel has been exasperated by illegal immigration for as long as he can remember – he said he once quit a job because he was too angry to see food stamps and d Other Benefits for Children of Unauthorized Immigrants.