Recently Texas’ economy surpassed Russia’s, becoming the 9th largest economy in the world. Texas is blessed with many assets and geographical advantages that strengthen our state economy.

However, Trumps’ executive actions this week to build a border wall and target Hispanic communities threatens Texas’ economy and are damaging to our border region.

Texas and Mexico share 1,254 miles of common border and are joined by 28 international bridges and border crossings. This number includes two dams, one hand-drawn ferry, and 25 other crossings that allow commercial, vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Mexico is easily Texas’ largest trading partner. In 2015 alone, Texas sent roughly $95 billion in goods to Mexico, according to the International Trade Administration.

The border crossings are vital to the economies of Texas and Mexico, and have contributed to Mexico’s status as Texas’ #1 trading partner.

The Texas-Mexico border is not a liability. It is an asset.

Trump’s orders to build a border wall reflect a fundamental lack of understanding of the issues facing communities on the Texas-Mexico border.

Now, Trump is even proposing a 20 percent tax on all Mexican imports to raise revenue to pay for his misguided border wall. In 2015, Texas imported close to $85 billion in goods from Mexico. Any tax imposed on Mexican imports will ultimately be passed on to the American and Texas consumer. So a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports means a 20 percent tax on our middle class and working families. This tax proposal will set back trade with our number one trading partner while devastating our State economy and border communities.

Further, Trump’s executive orders targeting Hispanic communities by boosting border patrol forces, increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations, banning refugees, and punishing sanctuary cities won’t make us any safer.

El Paso, a major border city, has consistently had the lowest crime rate ranking in the U.S. for a city of its size.

Many local law enforcement agencies work with and rely on the cooperation of the immigrant community to better protect and serve the community at large from real threats. These anti-sanctuary city policies will disrupt this cooperation and trust between these communities and their local law enforcement.

Local law enforcement agencies know how to tailor policy specific to their areas to best keep them as safe as possible. Requiring local law enforcement to comply with any and all federal immigration enforcement orders strips local law enforcement authorities’ discretion and local control.

Besides the real civil rights concerns these actions raise, they will also have dire economic consequences by substantially shrinking our labor force.

Most undocumented immigrants are not criminals. They are refugees fleeing violence and poverty. They are here to work and provide for their families. And the truth is, many of them are paying taxes in some shape or form. These immigrants are part of the workforce that has made Texas’ economy the 9th largest in the world.

In 2006, the Texas Comptroller studied the economic impact of undocumented immigrants. That report found:

The absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received.

– Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Texas Comptroller

This economic impact study hasn’t been updated since 2006. This session, I filed legislation requiring the Comptroller to update this report. I am confident, the economic contributions of the undocumented immigrant community to Texas are significantly higher today.

We are stronger as a State and as a Country because of our Texas-Mexico border, our trading relationship with Mexico, and our immigrant communities.

We should be building bridges with trade partners, investing in ports of entry, and working towards comprehensive immigration reform to bolster our workforce – not just because it’s good for business but because it makes Texas stronger AND it’s the right thing to do.