SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Border mayors from Brownsville to San Diego have signed on to resolutions in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and the North American Development Bank.
The mayors, including Pete Saenz of Laredo and Trey Mendez of Brownsville, met for the 8th Annual U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Summit in San Diego, California.
Border mayors from both the United States and Mexico discussed issues such as international trade, bilateral relations, immigration and other areas affecting their cities.
The summit was hosted by San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and co-chaired by Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Arturo Gonzalez.
Saenz said the resolution on USMCA, the successor trade deal to the North American Free Trade Agreement, urges for the passage of the new agreement. He said USMCA will help ensure our business with Mexico continues to grow.
Saenz said the second resolution urges reauthorization of the North American Development Bank in order to as to “facilitate more investment in much-needed border water and road infrastructure projects.”
Both resolutions were signed by 15 mayors from California, Baja California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
“The USMCA must be ratified as soon as possible by the U.S. Congress and this was unanimously supported by a signed resolution by the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association,” Saenz said.
“It is clear to border mayors that Mexico is a much-needed trading partner which positively impacts the economies of border states and the nation.”
On the subject of NADBank, Saenz said: “NADBank must be further funded by both the U.S. and Mexico as soon as possible to finance crucial border infrastructure. This too was unanimously supported by a signed resolution by the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association.”
The North American Development Bank was established in 1994 to enhance the quality of life for people living along the U.S.-Mexico border with cleaner water, air and land. The Border Mayors Association signed a resolution urging federal leaders to provide the Bank with a capital increase and restore funding for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program in the Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 budget process.
Saenz said Laredo has benefited since NAFTA went into effect in 1994. Currently, Laredo is the largest land port in the United States and the second-largest port overall, right after the Port of Los Angeles. Saenz pointed out that annual trade value going through Port Laredo is approximately $235 billion and facilitates approximately one third of all U.S.-Mexico trade.
Mayor Faulconer issued this statement following the passage of the two resolutions:
“Our border mayors play a critical role in building bridges between our two countries and working together we can create shared prosperity for our border regions. These resolutions represent our collective voice calling on our federal leaders to invest more in border infrastructure and modernize trade to grow economic opportunity on both sides of the border.”
Faulconer said the resolution on trade specifically calls for Congress to vote on the new United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. He pointed out that a new deal between the three North American nations was reached last year and updates the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement with enhancements that will improve manufacturing, agricultural and digital trade sectors.
Mayor González said the resolutions between the participating mayors solidifies their commitment to work together to continue building economic ties between the United States and Mexico.
“Tijuana and San Diego represent a $255 billion economy and one of the busiest land border crossings in the world with a flow of 50 million people per year. Our Cali-Baja region will continue to work together to strategically develop our economies to uniquely position our binational area for success. By joining forces, we will compete globally,” González said.
Mayor Faulconer noted that San Diego and Tijuana have a long-standing relationship of cross-border collaboration and economic development going back several generations. He said he and previous mayors in both cities have continued to build on the mega-region’s strong binational ties by advocating on behalf of American and Mexican residents and businesses in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City.
Most recently those efforts have been evident in the attention federal leaders have given to the issue of the Tijuana River Valley environmental crisis, he explained.
Mayor Faulconer currently serves as the co-chair for the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association and chair of the Trilateral Alliance for Trade in the Americas and continues to be a leading voice for the U.S. Border Trade Alliance.
Click here to read the resolution in English on USMCA
Click here to read the resolution in Spanish on USMCA
Click here to read the resolution in English on NADBank
Click here to read the resolution in Spanish on NADBank
On the issue of immigration, Mayor Saenz said:
“The U.S. for many years has been serious about enforcing its immigration laws. Despite this fact, some migrants continue attempting to enter the U.S. illegally for various reasons. Mexico, under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, at first was very inviting of migrants into Mexico.
“But as of recent months, the country has been turning migrants away to accommodate the U.S. Mexico is currently overwhelmed and can no longer serve this deterrence role for the U.S. for lack of capacity and related resources and is asking for international intervention to help address the root causes of such migration toward the U.S.
“Although migrant numbers entering the U.S. are currently down, primarily as a result of the Migrant Protection Protocols, both U.S. and Mexican officials are uncertain as to what the foreseeable future may hold.
“As for Mexico, it encourages those Mexican citizens wanting to immigrate to the U.S. to do so legally. Upon some becoming naturalized U.S. citizens, Mexico feels this should help build better relationships with the U.S. since these naturalized immigrants will then gain and grow in economic and political influence,” he added.
“It is imperative for Border Mayors to continue to lead the narrative and define their communities and regions so that others from the outside may not erroneously do so. We must work together to solve the issues that affect our border communities and our two countries.”