Eagle Pass, TX - The Eagle Pass News Leader editorial team received the following letter written by a CBP officer married to a BP agent.
Dear Eagle Pass:
I am writing on behalf of every "essential" worker who is married to another essential, teachers and single parents. Many of us are not from Eagle Pass and do not have the support of grandparents, aunts and uncles.
All citizens are having to make accommodations right now to the restrictions on us. Eagle Pass residents have children to care for, as well as elderly relatives. Many cannot leave the children at home so something as simple as getting a tire repaired is a major hassle.
In our case, we operate a Boys Ranch outside of town called The 10-point Turtle Ranch of Eagle Pass. We have had two emergency placements since spring break.
One is a 16 year old boy who has never been enrolled in school, and cannot be enrolled because we don't know his grade level and can't get him assessed.
He showed up with one pair of underwear and almost no clothing, but I cannot take him shopping. All I can do is go to Walmart by myself and do my best getting his size right.
We also have a 7 year old girl, which required a lot of adjustment on a ranch designed for teenage boys. There is no option right now-- no one is allowed to travel to Eagle Pass to pick her up, so we simply adjusted. Thank you Mrs Leija at Armando Cerna for being so patient with helping me get on the elementary school websites.
Listen employers--especially those at the Department of Homeland Security that are denying us administrative time to handle our children-- the daycares are not taking any more children.
In addition to having to maintain a full-time schedule at work, I also have to learn how to homeschool 5 children ranging from first grade to high school. In the last 3 days, I have received 269 emails from teachers about pending homework, tests, apps to download, etc.
The teachers seem to be working around the clock. They answer my text messages and emails sometimes at 7 at night, and often on weekends. Keep in mind that somebody has to care for their children during the day, and they still have to go home at night to homeschool their own kids.
BOSS: I am calling in sick because I don't have any relatives in town who can take care of my children, and I don't want to ask my parents to come because they are in their seventies and vulnerable to COVID.
The service workers--our waiters, dishwashers, and bartenders--have the luxury of being at home to take care of their children. Those children have to be fed, and our service workers are not being paid. Yes, there is unemployment and food stamps, but that money is nothing next to the tips they were getting at Chili's or San Miguel.
These kids eat A LOT. Besides the expense, it is tough, especially for a single parent, to go to a grocery store. No one wants to be fined $1,000 for being seen with a child in an HEB parking lot.
I am fortunate because our union is working very hard for the employees of Customs and Border Protection. My husband works for the Border Patrol, and we live on a self-sufficient ranch, so we are not suffering.
However, I have no free time at all and still cannot keep up with everything that needs to be done. I am using up all of my sick time trying to find a way to handle my responsibilities.
Employers-- its tough out here. Cut us a break.
EP residents-- be nice to each other. It is not the fault of cashiers that we cannot enter a store without a mask or that we have to stand on the blue X's.
BE NICE. We are all in this together.
EP resident since 2010