Ask any Texan and they’ll tell you there is nowhere else like the Texas border.
This week, I joined with Texas Reps. Mike Conaway and John Carter to show some of our North Carolina and Nevada counterparts how what happens here along the border impacts the rest of the country.
As Congress and the Administration work to find the best way to finally secure our southern border and enforce the law, understanding how this region generates millions of jobs for our communities and billions of dollars for our economy will be key.
Monday, February 20: Rio Grande Valley Sector
On our first day, I took my Senate colleagues Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Dean Heller of Nevada and Reps. John Carter (TX-31), Mike Conaway (TX-11), and David Rouzer (NC-07) through the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector of the U.S.-Mexico border. The group saw parts of the border where the county partnered with the federal government to build a dual purpose levee wall to provide flood control in addition to border security.
We toured the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge and discussed the importance of cross-border trade. In the McAllen area we visited the Border Patrol Station and the Central Processing Center, as well as a stash house used by human traffickers who hold children and women for ransom in deplorable conditions.
No one should ever be subjected to such inhumane treatment. We concluded the day with a visit to the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint and a tour of the surrounding ranch land used by those attempting to circumvent the checkpoint. At each of the stops, we learned about law enforcement’s multi-layered approach to securing the border.
Tuesday, February 21: Laredo Sector
At this portion of our trip we saw the Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector from every angle, including from a helicopter, onboard an airboat, and on horseback. We visited the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge in Laredo, an essential port of entry for U.S.-Mexico trade. And we met with federal and immigration court judges to hear their perspectives as well as with local leaders who help drive the economic success of the border region.
Wednesday, February 22: Del Rio Sector
We wrapped up our trip in the Border Patrol’s Del Rio Sector. After an air tour of the unique and rugged terrain in this region, we honored Border Patrol agents’ work at an awards ceremony with the Del Rio Border Patrol. We were also briefed by a federal judge and law enforcement on Operation Streamline, a collaboration at the federal, state, and local levels that effectively deters illegal entries through increased apprehensions, detention, and prosecutions of border crossers.
I’m glad that not only these Members of Congress, but others I’ve brought to the border on previous trips will now have the benefit of a Texas perspective on border security. I’m optimistic that my colleagues are up to the challenge of helping to craft a way to once and for all secure our border while protecting the legitimate trade and travel that Texas so greatly depends on.
Editor’s Note: The above commentary was posted by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in an electronic newsletter sent to constituents on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. The main image accompanying the story was taken at Anzalduas Park in Mission by Rio Grande Guardian reporter Steve Taylor.
Additionally, Cornyn issued this quote about his three-day fact-finding tour of the South Texas-Mexico border region:
“As Congress and the Administration consider the best approach to finally secure our southern border and enforce the law, understanding the complex nature of this region is critical. Millions of jobs and billions of dollars are tied to our economic relationship with Mexico, and it’s important for my colleagues to see firsthand how what happens here impacts the rest of the country.
“I’m thankful for the input of law enforcement and local community and business leaders throughout this trip, and I appreciate my colleagues taking the time to let me show them this unique region of the country.”