WESLACO, RGV – The Texas Border Coalition has weighed in on Congressman Filemon Vela’s critique of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

In an explicit open letter, Vela told Trump to “take your border wall and shove it up your ass.”

Monica Weisberg-Stewart
Monica Weisberg-Stewart

Like other Latino leaders, Vela was outraged by Trump’s remarks about Gonzalo Paul Curiel, a United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Trump has said he does not think he will get impartiality from Curiel in a lawsuit filed on Trump University because Curiel is of Mexican descent. Asked by reporters why that matters, Trump has said: “Because I am going to build a border wall.”

Congressman Vela said Trump’s comments were racist.

Monica Weisberg-Stewart is chair of the Texas Border Coalition’s immigration and border security committee. She is also a businesswoman in McAllen, Texas. The TBC is a group comprising leaders from border cities, counties and economic development corporations located on the Texas-Mexico border.

“As a business owner on the border, I relish the opportunity to explain to Mr. Trump the realities of the border,” Weisberg-Stewart told the Rio Grande Guardian, in a statement sent via email. “At this point, campaign rhetoric can substantially hurt what those of us that live, work and raise our families here are trying to achieve: real security while fostering legitimate trade and travel.”

Weisberg-Stewart also criticized Trump for his proposals to extend the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“A wall cannot make apprehensions; stop illegals that come to the U.S. with legal documents and overstay their visit; stop those that enter our county with false documents; and stop those that enter our country by the use of professional smugglers,” Weisberg-Stewart said. “What a wall will do is send the wrong message to our southern neighbor who happens to be one of America’s largest trading partners; have adverse effects on our wildlife and ecosystem; and encroach on the rights of property owners.”

Weisberg-Stewart concluded her statement with these words: “Americans deserve true security not the false sense of security that they are promised with the wall. So, it is not likely that TBC would support a wall – even in the location Representative Vela suggested.”

Another leader in the Rio Grande Valley to comment on Vela’s remarks about Trump is Vietnam War veteran Felix M. Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a past commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars District 18 and a member of the American Legion, the American GI Forum, and America’s Last Patrol, said Vela “had balls” to stand up to Trump.

In a video interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Rodriguez said: “I admire Congressman Filemon Vela’s response to this idiot, Donald Trump and his racist remarks regarding Hispanics. Specifically, (his remarks about) the federal district judge, Gonzalo Curiel. He (Curiel) was born in the United States of America.

“I admire Congressman Filemon Vela’s courage in standing up to this man. I agree with him wholeheartedly, 100 percent. Somebody needs to speak up, to speak the same language Donald Trump is used to. Donald Trump is a bully. I agree with Congressman Filemon Vela that Donald Trump needs to take that wall and shove it up his ass.”

Editor’s Note: Congressman Vela’s letter to Trump, both the English and Spanish versions, can be found here.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this story shows Rio Grande Valley veterans leader Felix M. Rodriguez being interviewed by the Rio Grande Guardian at the Catholic War Veterans Hall in Weslaco. Click here to watch the video.