Hurricanes a Wake-Up Call on Climate, Government and Immigration

Shortage of construction workers contributes to rebuilding delays in Houston

Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz spent a lot of time in Iowa leading up to the 2016 caucuses. The Texas politician clarified his positions on a variety of issues, including a disregard for the existence of climate change and a desire to cut taxes and shrink the federal government.

Now Texas is trying to recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Congress recently approved billions of dollars in disaster-relief funding for the state. Cruz voted to support that aid. Yet he, along with fellow Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, voted against the 2013 disaster-relief bill for Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast in 2012.

Washington should respond to disasters that affect Americans. But one cannot overlook the hypocrisy of politicians who repeatedly rail against government and taxes — until disasters strike their own communities. Then they seek help from taxpayers and federal agencies.

The Lone Star state is especially notorious for its anti-government sentiment. Members of a fringe secession movement continue to argue the state should become an independent country. We hope none of them has been calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency in recent days.

Perhaps Cruz and other like-minded politicians will eventually change their thinking on the important role the U.S. government plays in the lives of Americans, particularly those who need assistance. Perhaps these elected officials will change their thinking about the reality of warming oceans.

And as communities try to rebuild from storms, maybe some will take a different view on immigration. Because a severe shortage of construction workers is expected to cause widespread delays and push labor costs higher in Texas, the Wall Street Journal recently reported.

While Hurricane Irma hit Florida, the 30,000 Houston homes destroyed and thousands more damaged by her predecessor were not rebuilding and repairing themselves. That will require an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 workers in Texas alone.

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