The Great American Cleanup, an organization that selects a different town each year to clean up, has recently been focusing on border towns. They bring in volunteers, collaborate with local law enforcement, and collect trash left behind by illegal immigrants and human traffickers crossing the border. In recognition of the efforts made by local law enforcement officers dealing with the border crisis on a daily basis, the group donates money to support their work and strengthen their communities. This year, Constable Norman Esquivel of Brownsville, Texas, was presented with a $15,000 check after working with the Great American Cleanup on September 11. [tweet_embed]September 18, 2023[/tweet_embed] However, County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. has refused to allow Esquivel to cash the check. When Esquivel brought the check to the local Commissioners Court in Cameron County to request approval for cashing it, his request was denied. Trevino interrogated Esquivel about how he came to receive the funds and why his department was involved in cleaning up the border. Instead of allowing the constable and his deputies to utilize the funds for new equipment and resources for the community, Trevino wanted an explanation for their involvement in the cleanup. [tweet_embed]September 18, 2023[/tweet_embed] Esquivel stood before the judge and the county commissioners to account for his department's work and advocate for accepting the donation on their behalf. He explained that the funds were donated to them in recognition of their efforts with the Great American Cleanup. Esquivel stated, "We were at the southern border here this weekend, cleaning up the border, the trash that was left behind by illegal immigrants coming into our country." The project was funded by the We Fund the Blue Foundation, a non-profit organization that contacted Esquivel's department. Esquivel informed the commissioners that the foundation chose their department to assist with the cleanup efforts on the ground. He also mentioned that the foundation presented them with a $15,000 check, with an additional $5,000 as a token of appreciation for their work on the southern border. Trevino had several questions for Esquivel. He inquired about the location of the cleanup, to which Esquivel responded that it took place across from an encampment on the Rio Grande River. Esquivel and his team worked for approximately 8 hours each day on both Saturday and Sunday. Esquivel, who has been in law enforcement for 15 years, emphasized the severity of the illegal immigration issue at the border. He stated that approximately 45,000 illegal immigrants had entered the country in Brownsville alone within the past couple of months. These individuals leave behind various forms of trash, creating a significant problem that Esquivel and his team deal with on a daily basis. He urged Americans to vote for the right people and not to be swayed by a media that seeks to downplay the real crisis at the border. Trevino questioned Esquivel about inviting other constables to participate in the cleanup event and whether he would share the money with them. Esquivel explained that he informed other constables about the cleanup and that they said they would try to attend. As for sharing the money, Esquivel stated that they could distribute it as needed, but assured the commissioners that it would be put to good use. Trevino interrupted, insisting on knowing if Esquivel would share the money with other constable departments. Esquivel expressed his desire to use the funds for his deputies in precinct one and emphasized the need for high-quality police equipment and resources for the community. He clarified that no other constables or precincts had shown up for the cleanup. Trevino seemed to blame Esquivel for the absence of other constables, implying that he had excluded them from the volunteer opportunity. Esquivel, however, explained that he had informed other constables about the cleanup and that they had not attended. Despite this, Trevino continued to press Esquivel, questioning why he had not sent them an email as well. Trevino expressed his concern that the cleanup event was politically motivated and accused Esquivel of organizing it solely for his own benefit. He questioned why Esquivel, out of all the constables in Texas, was chosen for this honor. Trevino seemed to suspect that greed had driven Esquivel and his deputies to clean up the area in the scorching heat. John Rourke, a representative of the Great American Cleanup, clarified that the event was not political but a community-driven initiative. Rourke explained that he had contacted Bianca Gracia, who had connections in the border towns of Texas, and she had recommended Esquivel. The non-profit organization We Fund the Blue supports the Great American Cleanup and assists underfunded police departments across the United States with trash removal. Rourke emphasized that their cleanup efforts not only benefit the community by cleaning up the environment but also raise funds for and donate to local police departments. Rourke expressed surprise at the difficulties Esquivel faced in getting the check cashed. He mentioned that in his previous cleanups in Easterwood district, Baltimore, Del Rio, and Eagle Pass, there had been no issues with cashing the check. Both the Del Rio and Eagle Pass cleanups had the support of Democrat Sheriffs. Bianca Gracia, who recommended Esquivel for the cleanup, confirmed that they had worked together to organize the event. They obtained permission and clearance from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Public Safety, and Border Patrol. Gracia mentioned that the Chief of Border Patrol had sent agents for community service and provided meals for the volunteers. The cleanup had over 100 volunteers on Saturday and around 30 on Sunday. Gracia emphasized that the event was not political and that two Democrat Commissioners had participated in the cleanup. She expressed disappointment that Trevino had not reached out to her or Rourke to learn about their mission and work. Trevino continued to press Esquivel, claiming that the flyer for the cleanup mentioned cleaning up the mess left by the Biden administration. Esquivel denied seeing that statement on the flyer. Trevino insisted that the event was political and accused Esquivel of benefiting solely from the donation. He expressed his concern that the county was not supporting other constables and questioned why Esquivel had not invited precinct two to participate in the cleanup. Esquivel attempted to respond, but Trevino interrupted, demanding to know why other constables were not involved in the cleanup. Trevino maintained that the cleanup was a political stunt and ultimately refused to allow Esquivel to cash the check. The decision to cash the donation check for precinct one was postponed to a future meeting. Trevino complained that others had not taken advantage of the opportunity when it was offered. While Trevino claimed that accepting a donation for work performed was political, he himself opened himself up to the same criticism.