(NewsNation) — For voters in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, inflation and border security remain the top issues on their minds heading into the 2024 presidential election. The RGV has an 83% Latino population and has been a Democrat stronghold for years.
However, high inflation under the Biden administration has impacted the daily lives of working-class Latinos in RGV who live on the border in one of the busiest sectors for illegal immigration.
Border security is a top issue for Jimmie Garcia, a truck driver from La Joya. He told NewsNation he was forced to move away from his home due to migrants constantly trespassing through his property after crossing illegally into the U.S., making his family feel unsafe.
Garcia said he will be voting for former President Donald Trump in next year’s election because of his tough stance on border security.
“It was a lot safer during his four years as President Trump,” Garcia said.
The former president outperformed among Latinos in south Texas in 2020, making inroads with Latino voters living in border counties.
Alma Perez, a marketing consultant from McAllen, said inflation is one of her top issues and will also vote for Trump in the 2024 election.
“$200 worth of groceries used. That’s outrageous,” Perez said.
Trailing behind Trump in the polls is Florida Gov. Ron Desantis.
Garcia and Perez both said they like the Florida governor and support his policies, but say his time to be president isn’t now but in 2028.
“I do have a lot of family in Florida, so I see the impact he’s had in that state. I do believe that finishing his term there, and running for the next presidential election, would prepare him for what the country will need,” Perez said.
Manuel Ramos, a Mexican national and U.S. citizen living in McAllen, said inflation is making it harder for his family business to make a profit.
Ramos said that living on the border, he worries about the surge in illegal immigration into his community and believes that Trump will secure the border and get the economy back on track.
“You go to the store, it’s just ridiculous,” Ramos said.
Latino voters said that they feel taken for granted by the Democratic Party because this part of Texas is deeply blue. However, that’s changing fast and McAllen is the 15th Congressional District, which was flipped Republican last year for the first time ever by Rep. Monica De La Cruz.