LAREDO, Texas – Recognizing the United States elects a President and not a King, President-Elect Donald Trump will have no option but to work with the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House in order to make his projects a reality.

This is the view of Congressman Henry Cuellar. The Laredo Democrat says projects already in process for border towns can’t be rejected by one person alone.

“It is important to know the system we have in the United States. We elected a President, not a King for life. It’s a four-year Presidency. He (Trump) will need to work with Congress, where we have some Republicans that support Mexico, and support commerce we already have,” Cuellar said.

Cuellar made his comments in an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian following a ceremony to announce infrastructure improvements to Bridge I and Bridge II in Laredo.

In the new Congress, Republicans will control the House and the Senate. Cuellar said there are some Republicans that still don’t know what to expect from Trump.

“If we turn back time, the majority of Republicans in Congress and Senate didn’t want to support him. Yes, he arrived to the Presidency as Republican, but Trump is someone who in some positions thinks as a Democrat, and in others as a Republican,” Cuellar said.

Broadly, Cuellar thinks, Republicans do not have a President-Elect they know well, and actually some of them have expressed that in some areas they will be against Trump.

“Republicans have assured that they will work with him, but at the same time they are saying they don’t know,” Cuellar said. “Nobody knows what to expect from Trump.”

As an example, Cuellar cited international trade. He said that while Trump talks about rejecting some trade policies, that is something a single person can’t do. As a matter of fact, if there were going to be changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, all that goes into a process, the congressman noted.

“Projects to improve the bridges can’t be stopped. A person from inside Trump’s team told me they are not going to reject anything, but they will be looking for changes,” Cuellar said. “Well, changes to NAFTA have been already proposed through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and that is what I will be presenting to Trump’s cabinet.”

Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on January 20. Cuellar hopes to meet with some cabinet members early this month, including former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has being selected as the next Secretary of Energy.

“It is because of NAFTA that daily $1.5 billion crosses the border (and) I can’t see a single person, whose name is Donald Trump, stopping all this commerce. A single person can’t do it,” Cuellar said. “As I said before, there are the Republicans who support commerce with Mexico, and they do understand Mexico is a friend and not an enemy.”

Cuellar was Secretary of State when Perry was Governor. He said he is confident Perry will support the development of more natural gas exploration in Mexico.

“If we look at it like this, together the U.S., Mexico and Canada are the new Middle East of the World,” Cuellar said. “Perry understands the importance of Mexico’s economy, the gas and oil.”

Cuellar concluded the interview by reaffirming a theme he has noted before: that what is good for the border region is good for the rest of the United States and Mexico.

Undocumented Immigrants

Central American immigrants are released at a bus station in downtown Laredo on Dec. 29 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Courtesy photo).

Meanwhile, Congressman Cuellar issued a statement today regarding the release of Central American immigrants in Laredo by the Department of Homeland Security. The immigrants have a “Notice to Appear” before an immigration judge.

Cuellar’s statement reads:

“The Department of Homeland Security is releasing immigrants, mostly from Central America, in the Laredo area where they are free to go with relatives or sponsor organizations while they are given a Notice to Appear for an asylum hearing before an immigration judge on a certain date. These immigrants were previously processed to be deported before being reprocessed with a Notice to Appear and therefore released on their own recognizance.

“Our law enforcement on the border have a tremendous job at hand. And while we are speaking about Central American immigrants today, we are expecting tens of thousands of more immigrants from other parts of the world in the next few months.

“I recently spoke with Roman Macaya, Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States, regarding information that about 40,000 migrants from Haiti, as well as Africa, Asia and the Middle East, will be on their way to the United States southern border via Central America and Mexico.

“I continue to stress the need to be more proactive and work with our neighbors in both Mexico and Central America to curb these huge waves of illegal immigration to the United States. Our taxpayer dollars, and more importantly, our border communities, are bearing the burden of providing emergency shelter and food for many of these immigrants who have been coming to the border and pleading asylum in record numbers.

“This past year, Congress provided $750 million in aid for Central America specifically to help deter illegal immigration to the United States. Furthermore, I’m working with my colleagues to provide our justice system with the immigration judges and necessary infrastructure to cut down on the backlog of immigration cases. In FY16, we were able to provide the U.S. Department of Justice with 55 new immigration judges and had a deal worked out in the FY17 House Appropriations Act to provide 25 more. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find solutions to make changes to these processes at the border.”