The border town that ‘forgot’ it turned into half of the US – BBC Info


foreign of Rio Rico the river the boundary between two countries talk about illegals on this side while I was illegal on that side too a small Mexican border town with a rich history there was a Cascade of events that these folks said look at.

What the Gringos did to us they took away a river real Rico was actually at one time kind of like a little Las Vegas the name that pops up in this local lore is Al Capone except it turns out Rio Rico wasn't always part of Mexico and there's consequences to trying to control nature.

I mean unforeseen consequences a shocking Discovery in 1967 revealed that the town was originally part of the United States hundreds of Mexicans discovered they were actually American all the major newspapers they all carried a story about The Lost Americans it was a big deal because it's an unusual story.

How did this happen locals call the Region around the U.S Mexico border La Frontera it can be a dangerous place with security forces on the lookout for cartels who traffic drugs and people to the U.S whilst smuggling guns and money back to Mexico foreign.

Town there aren't many people here now and it's hard to imagine that this place was actually once part of the US borders often change violently through War sometimes peacefully when land is traded or purchased and sometimes as in the case of the U.S.

Mexico border a small now long forgotten company can rewrite the entire history of a nation's border the Rio Grande has formed the border between the United States of America and Mexico since 1848. in the early 1900s the American Rio Grande land and irrigation company had a pumping station on the U.S side that took water from the river and delivered.

It to local farmers the company started to worry that the river would change course though so in 1906 it cut a new channel that isolated 419 Acres south of the river the old Loop of river dried up and this area became known as the hawcon tract with Rio Rico in the middle essentially south of the river is Mexico.

So 418 Acres became a territory of Mexico one of the treaties they violated was the 1848 Treaty of guadalupidalgo that said the Rio Grande is the boundary between the two countries the American Rio Grande land and irrigation company was fined and ordered to pay damages to those living on the Hall Contract but.

Residents pretty quickly adapted to becoming part of Mexico in 1920 prohibition was introduced across the United States so if you're in South Texas and want to have a beer want to have a margarita you can't have any on this side there was these communities across the river you could paddle across you could swim.

Across you could walk across sometimes indulge Rio Rico was glad to supply the American population with as much beer and tequila and whatever they wanted 1928 they started the construction of a bridge to go across to Rio Rico there was a lot of advertising in the local papers about the grand opening and what was happening over there they had.

Casinos they had gambling they had drinking the Tivoli nightclub it had a dance floor there was the size of a basketball court they had cockfighting and they had bordellos so prohibition caused the economy of Rio Rico to just boom newspaper headlines in 1929 talked about Eastern capitalists purchase Rio Rico to be high-class Resorts 250 of the.

Fastest dogs in the country arrived for the inaugural race of Rio Rico Kennel Club and the name that pops up in this local lore is Al Capone now there's no official record that he was down here but it's assumed that his captains and his sergeants and his minions were doing the stuff and they were.

Bumping in money to Rio Rico to develop Rio Rico into a resort area the good times in Rio Rico dried up after 1933 when prohibition was repealed foreign grew up on the U.S side of the river for him the Border was never something that separated people growing up there on the river like I did was was a kid's.

Paradise I got the fish on every day but there were some kids from across the river that would actually come over and I got to normal and we'd fish at our on our side and of course they were invited over our house just like they were family I'd eat with us and whatnot I'd also swim the river and go back south and I got to know.

Their family just like they got to know mine it's kind of strange you know they talk about illegals on this side while I guess I was illegal on that side too but nobody cared after a while the inhabitants of Rio Rico had largely forgotten that they were once citizens of the us until 1967.

When a geography Professor called James Hill rediscovered what had happened he did extensive research on this area and created some well-documented maps that designated the property owners in all these 419 Acres where the cut of the river was this was especially interesting to attorney Laurier McDonald who was representing a client called.

Romero Cantu who was in the process of being deported from the U.S McDonald was able to prove that because his client was born in Rio Rico that made him a U.S citizen the U.S court of appeals decides yes indeed Mr Kanto was born in U.S territory that's the 14th Amendment of the to the Constitution if you're born within territory of the.

United States you are a citizen so he was a citizen having been born in Rio Rico whoop to do that started a pandemonium for Rio Rico another Resurgence in growth in Rio Rico everyone said I was born in Rio Rico I was born in Rio Rico these folks came from all over Mexico.

They came from Europe they came from China saying I was born in Rio Rico as others scrambled to get U.S citizenship by claiming they were born in Rio Rico lawyers were tasked with assessing their claims we had clients who had dependent upon which which bedroom the baby was delivered in because the house itself.

Sat across the International boundary line you have to remember though no one no one who lived there really paid any attention to that boundary and so lots were subdivided There Was You Know houses were built and yeah it was very very strange there was there was more than one family whose house was split it depends on what bedroom you were born in.

In the end the U.S officially seeded the hawk contract to Mexico and accepted the claims of about 250 people most of them emigrated to the U.S leaving Rio Rico a shell of its former self maybe it's hard to believe that it was like a very active town.

My grandparents property where the shop was is still of ours that was our sort of income we were born in the U.S when my son was growing up he got to experience a little bit of that I would just let them kind of be free and barefooted and sit down and play with the dirt the hints around him you.

Know people are still there are still good people there's still traditional families back in the day there was a hotel there and a theater they got to see President Infante Sarah Garcia very important artist for the Mexican history there was a lot of people that would.

Commute to the record just to see those artists Rio Rico is a quiet place now the few families still here are farmers and the visitors who do come are on their way to the Border I feel like a lot of people that migrated to the US in Legally that was kind of their stop it did happen there and you know that's.

Part of their history as well being so close to the river as the U.S battles drug trafficking and illegal immigration this Borderland is now one of the most surveilled Frontiers in the world it's hard to imagine a small irrigation company could ever have such an.

Influence over a community like this ever again the folks in Rio Rico today they know little if nothing of the history of Rio Rico I look at the sheds or almost everything falling apart you know it's just like maybe it's hard to believe that Leo is like a very active town that River doesn't separate people.

We're still Brothers we're still you know we're all we're all just people so that's my story about Rio Rico one town two countries and the lost Americans

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