The challenges of illegal border crossings continue into the summer, with record numbers of immigrants leaping into the United States here in Texas. Helping aid that process is a development company called "Colony Ridge Communities," which encourages immigrants to buy land via various loan loopholes.
Funded by the Harris Family, prominent political donors from Cut and Shoot, the community in Liberty County is now home to the largest settlement of illegal immigrants in the entire country. Over 75,000 illegals now call the area home, and Todd Bensman from the Center for Immigration Studies says it was made with the invaders in mind.
"Its creation was enabled by the direct owner-to-buyer sale of three-quarter lots in the area to market to illegal immigrants specifically," he says. "This has been going on for 10 years now."
In fact, the marketing company for the community, Terrenos Houston, specifically advertises to illegals, saying they do not need traditional loans. Immigrants are able to get the land via ITIN loans, which specifically circumvent need for a Social Security Number in the application process.
Also, in this 'safe space' we will call it, there is no fears of consequences.
"The people who buy this land say they do not have to worry about Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or police, or anyone else bothering them about their immigration status," he says. "So, it is extremely appealing to immigrants, even though they have to pay outrageous interest on these loans."
There is even more happening to grow it further.
"The place is in the midst of a massive expansion right now, with reports of another 35,000 acres under development," he says.
The area is of course a hotbed for not just illegal immigrants, but a whole host of illegal activity. From drugs and cartel business to human trafficking, and various other violent crimes.
As we mentioned, this project is funded by a family who gives hefty amounts of money to political candidates, including Governor Greg Abbott. While Bensman says there is not a clear connection between the development's lack of prosecution, and Abbott's status as governor, he could distance himself from it with his big border security initiative.
"He could send Operation Lone Star into this colony...it is a very target rich community...and a lot of people there are breaking many state laws," he says. "Sending Operation Lone Star in would disassociate him from any possible connection to the donations and colony itself."
As far as the potential ramifications for the colony, there is not much to be done simply because of where it is located.
"This one is beyond the border zone, so it happens to fall outside the law," he says.
Regardless, the state legislature and other interested parties should be taking a bigger interest in this.
"I have heard reports of lots of other places going up around the state...but I have not been able to independently confirm them," says Bensman.
He says this will continue as long as there is land to be sold, and money to be made.