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Dennis Bonnen

Big spending on border patrol boosts economy for small Texas town

AUSTIN, Texas In Rio Grande City, named for the river that splits the U.S. from Mexico, footpaths cut from the brush by drug-smugglers and illegal immigrants have a new look, rehabbed into family-friendly hike-and-bike trails. The town of 14,000, seat of the poorest county in Texas, put $80,000 into the project, and is spending $125,000 on a new park. It bought a vacant building for $1.3 million Monday that will become the new City Hall. Everybody knows where the money's coming from, because they're everywhere the border-patrol agents who crowd the most popular taco trucks at lunchtime and get their shirts starched over at Comet Cleaners. Now that the state has authorized $800...

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