The developer behind Colony Ridge, an alleged “colonia” north of Houston, has invited lawmakers to tour the area in an effort to dispel claims that it is a community of unlawful migrants.
As reported by The Dallas Express, Colony Ridge has come under scrutiny for potentially harboring tens of thousands of unlawful migrants. The area has also reportedly been overwhelmed by cartel-related criminal activity.
John Harris, the president of Colony Ridge, Inc., rebutted such claims, explaining to lawmakers, “We are sending this letter in response to ongoing false media narratives and false statements being perpetuated by out-of-state media outlets, politicians, and special interest groups.”
“We were all born and raised in this same area from very modest beginnings, with a few of us growing up in trailers,” he said. “We have lived the American Dream and believe hard work and property ownership are key to lifting individuals out of poverty.”
Harris said that development of the community started in 2011 and that since then, his company “provided homeownership to thousands” and “donated land for new schools, including three trilingual charter schools.”
“We have followed the law fully, including: screening all customers for potential terrorism/narcotics trafficking, following anti-discrimination laws, and adhering to all county ordinances, environmental regulations, and Model Subdivision rules,” Harris claimed. “Our development is not a ‘colonia.’”
“Colonias are not legally permitted subdivisions with fully engineered water, sewer, power, and road infrastructure,” he added. “We do all of the above, and describing our community as a colonia is disingenuous. Further, allegations of drug cartel connections to Colony Ridge are preposterous and unfounded.”
Harris went on to invite lawmakers to visit Colony Ridge, promising a tour on October 5 at 11 a.m. with access to company employees and residents.
“We look forward to disproving the media’s salacious rumors and lies,” he concluded.
The tour would come just days before the next special session of the Texas Legislature is scheduled to begin. Gov. Greg Abbott sent a notification letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) informing them of an October 9 start date.
While the focus of the special session was expected to be school choice, as reported by The Dallas Express, growing calls to add border security legislation have prompted Abbott to suggest he might expand the scope of the session’s agenda. The Texas Republican Party has asked for Colony Ridge to be addressed during the session.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently surveyed the Colony Ridge area by land and air after saying he would spearhead efforts to consider potential legislation related to colonias. Additionally, Republican representatives from the Texas delegation to Congress requested that Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton investigate Colony Ridge.