A movement for El Paso to secede from Texas has begun.
Apparently in response to a petition posted on whitehouse.gov calling for the secession of Texas from the United States, an El Pasoan identified only as Raymond K. started a petition on Tuesday to have El Paso secede from Texas.
For the petition to be reviewed by the White House staff, it needs 25,000 signatures by Dec. 13. As of Thursday, it had only 800.
A statewide petition started on Tuesday by the Texas Nationalist Movement, which apparently began after President Barack Obama was re-elected last week, attracted more than 80,000 signatures, qualifying it for White House review.
The White House website allows anyone to create a petition. According to the website, once a petition reaches 25,000 signatures, it is passed on to staffers for review and then is sent to policy experts. Staff members will then issue an official response.
The petition about El Paso asks that the city be allowed to secede from Texas because "El Paso is tired of being a second class city within Texas."
The petition continues, "El Paso has little in common with the rest of Texas. Its demographics are more similar to New Mexico. El Paso is also proud to be part of the United States and wants no part of a state whom publicly contemplates secession from our great nation."
El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar said Thursday that she had heard about the petition and called it "tongue-in-cheek and it's funny," but she added there may be some legitimacy to the motivation behind the petition.
"They (the state) don't necessarily see us as a second-class city, but I see that the state historically has not been effective at adequately funding El Paso compared to other communities," Escobar said.
A good example of that is the state's distribution of federal funding for health care, she said.
"The state of Texas is considered one of the poorest states because of border communities like El Paso," Escobar said. "They (the state) use our poverty to pull down more funds, then turn around and give the money to wealthier counties like Bexar County, Travis County and Harris County. I have had my own frustrations with being in a state that in some ways many times can harm us."
El Paso Mayor John Cook said, "Now is not a good time to be talking about why we would want to leave the state." Instead, he said, there should be more collaboration among governments to improve cities.
"In the past," Cook said, "there was talk that maybe we should become the 51st state in the nation and the poorest so we could get more federal aid, but I don't think it's constructive at this time."
He said that to help improve El Paso, the city should continue collaborating with other border cities in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico -- the reason the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association was created last year.
"Collaboration is important," Cook said. "The feasibility (of secession) is probably slim to none, so why even bother talking about it if it's never going to happen? We're not going to become the Republic of Texas again."
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