Oct 8, 2006
The immigration debate has spawned a number of off-the-wall solutions to keep Mexicans from illegally crossing the Rio Grande - the river that divides Mexico from the United States. One rather cruel solution suggested recently is to fill the Rio Grande River with alligators or crocodiles.
Not only was the idea off the wall, I thought, but the Rio Grande is so polluted that surely gators could not survive.
Well the Associated Press moments ago proved me wrong when they reported that Mexican fishermen captured a 7.5-foot-long crocodile in the Rio Grande. The crocodile weighed about 130 pounds and is reported to be in good condition at a local animal shelter.
The crocodile was caught on the outskirts of Nuevo Laredo, across from Laredo, Texas. Now that is a good 215 miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande.
How it got there is a good question. Despite the recent suggestions of some, authorities believe it may have been brought to the area as a pet and then released into the river by its owner. The animal is generally not found in the Rio Grande.
I attended a recent comedy show by television actor George Lopez in Harlingen. He apparently heard the calls by some to stock the Rio Grande with alligators to deter people from crossing on inner tubes. His response was to humorously highlight the resiliency and creativity of the Mexican people. "Bring it! Bring it," he mockingly challenged those calling for such a solution. "Before you know it, we will be selling alligator belts and shoes on the streets of our border towns."
My district touches the banks of the Rio Grande. Will the resilient creature that has survived countless eons from the time of the dinosaurs find a foothold here because of the hand of man? Good question, but the discovery of the crocodile this weekend does raise far more interesting questions confronting a potentially far more dangerous inhabitant of these lands.