Horcón Tract

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The Horcón Tract is a small tract of land (a banco) that, prior to 1905, was situated north of the Rio Grande in Texas. As the Rio Grande formed the international border, the tract was unambiguously American territory. In July 1906, however, the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company dug a cutoff to shorten the course of the river, thus bypassing the tract. As a result, the 461 acres of the tract (including the former riverbed) became located south of the river. The company was eventually taken to court and fined for the diversion of the river, and the land was agreed to remain American territory, in accordance with the border treaty.[1] In 1929 the town of Río Rico was founded near the tract on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.[1] As the Rio Grande changed its course after floods, the settlement was progressively pushed into the tract.[1] The residents, being mostly of Mexican heritage, accepted the authority of the Mexican government and all parties generally acted as if the tract was Mexican territory. However, the United States never actually relinquished the land, and the issue was re-discovered decades later by a researcher. The Boundary Treaty of 1970 provided for the Horcón Tract to revert to Mexico upon the completion of two new flood control projects. Thus in 1977 the United States officially ceded the tract of land to Mexico.[2] The Board of Immigration Appeals later determined that persons born in the Horcón Tract between 1906 and 1972 could not be deported, effectively if not technically granting citizenship.[3] As a result, a large portion of the population of Rio Rico moved to the United States.[4]

Coordinates: 26°03′22″N 97°53′24″W / 26.05611°N 97.89000°W / 26.05611; -97.89000

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  1. ^ a b c Matter of Cantu 17 Immigration & Naturalization Dec. 190, 190-91 (BIA, 1978)
  2. ^ McDonald, Laurier B. (2009). "Río Rico, Texas". Handbook of Texas. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ Matter of Cantu, 17 Immigration & Naturalization Dec. 190, 194 (BIA 1978)("Either the Government has established, ... that the respondent is an alien, or it has not; if it has not, it is not incumbent upon this Board to go the additional step of determining whether he is also a citizen. That determination can be left to some future date and some other process.")
  4. ^ Rohter, Larry (September 26, 1987). "South of Border Was Once North". New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2013.