September 2, 2013
There are 36 congressional districts in Texas, but the 23rd is a geographic monster that swallows up almost a quarter of the state, stretching from little towns such as this one east of El Paso to the western suburbs of San Antonio. One former congressman who represented the people here used to say that he had to cross three climates and two time zones to get from one end to the other.
The district has about 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border, the longest stretch in any House district, making it the place where immigration reform would be most deeply felt. People here know that immigration has consumed considerable political capital in Washington and they are watching apprehensively, preparing to live with the real-world consequences of whatever decision Congress makes. They are not encouraged by what they’re hearing, particularly about securing the border.
“The problem is, you’ve got this huge Congress and most of them don’t live on the border and they’re the ones who are going to decide what we do,” said El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles.