Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz and Donald Trump are pictured at Laredo Airport on Thursday, July 23, 2015. (Photo: AP/LM Otero)
Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz and Donald Trump are pictured at Laredo Airport on Thursday, July 23, 2015. (Photo: AP/LM Otero)

LAREDO, TEXAS – Laredo was not absent all the controversy and divided opinions resounding after the super, historic, Tuesday.

Even Pete Saenz, Mayor for City of Laredo, expressed the huge challenge President-Elect Donald Trump has in front of him.

“This was a shocker because we didn’t expected Trump to win the election,” Saenz said. “People in the border area have a kind of anxiety, and markets are reflecting that too.”

Trump visited Laredo in 2015, and Saenz remembered how much he was criticized for accepting the visit.

“When that visit, I guess I thought ‘What if he wins?’ That’s why I think we always should be good ambassadors, being respectful to whoever might visit…,” he expressed. “We were questioned and now he is our President… Politeness is always the best course to follow in any situation because you never know what the future holds”.

In 2015, Saenz got the chance to meet with Trump and explained to him what the border is all about and the benefits Laredo provides to the U.S.

“We hope that when he unveils his regulations, he values what the border area provides, all the economic contributions we make from this border to our nation,” the Laredo mayor said. “The more open he is, the more patient and polite towards everyone he is, I think in the long run it will serve them well. He needs to be open to listen to different fractions of opinions. That’s our hope”.

The Good Neighbor Council, a group formed with leaders from South Texas and Mexico (including Saenz), is requesting to meet with the President-Elect as soon as possible.

“We would ask him if he could consider sitting down with some border staff, because it would be beneficial to help him structure his policy towards Mexico and the border area”, he explained.

He also spoke about NAFTA, explaining how important it is for Laredo.

“NAFTA is the backbone for transportation, we depend on the international trade. Laredo wouldn’t be what it is without NAFTA, and not having it would affect us tremendously” Saenz said.

Texas, a majority red state, provided 38 electoral votes during the presidential election, and Mayor Saenz hopes this will get Trump’s attention and make him more receptive to concerns in this area.

“Now as President, he (Trump) should have a different posture and way of approaching things. I think he will be more patient and willing to listen to all… more attentively”, Saenz said.

Regarding a border wall, Saenz said he remembered Trump saying the Rio Grande river was a natural barrier by itself.

“I hope his tone has changed regarding the wall… I would encourage (him) to have a virtual secure border, higher technology and more border patrol agents,” Saenz explained. “We do need a secure border, we need control and order, but we must follow immigration laws in place, and that requires a process.”

He concluded his interview with the Rio Grande Guardian by reminding everyone that Trump was received with open arms in 2015. He said he will invite him to visit Laredo again.

“He has a huge challenge and we pray that things will work for the best… And if we work together, putting the past in the past, closing one door and opening a new one, then beautiful possibilities can grow by unifying our country,” Saenz said.