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McALLEN, RGV – In a letter sent to the White House, elected officials from across South Texas have invited President Trump to visit land ports of entry in their region.

Trump is slated to visit McAllen on Thursday to make the case for more funding for a border wall. South Texas leaders, however, argue that an investment in border security needs to take place at the ports of entry, not between them.

The leaders, including Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, Pharr Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez, Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña, and Hidalgo Mayor Sergio Coronado, issued a fact sheet which showed that $2 billion in economic activity comes through the U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry every day.

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez

However, current facilities cannot handle the traffic flow, causing long wait times and costing the U.S. economy millions of dollars, the South Texas leaders point out. 

In a news release issued through Vianovo, the South Texas leaders said they welcome Trump’s presence in the region and have offered to host him on a tour of one of Hidalgo County’s busiest ports of entry when he visits the Valley. The ports of entry that could be visited, they say, are the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge or the Anzalduas International Bridge.

“We, along with border residents share a concern for border security and stand with the brave U.S. Customs and Border Protection men and women who continue to protect our nation every day,” the elected officials wrote. “Our officers and their facilities are stretched thin, face an overwhelming opponent in the international drug cartels, and deserve all the support you may be able to offer.”

Letter to Trump


Here is the letter sent by the South Texas elected officials:

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As the leaders of one of the fastest growing counties in the State of Texas, we look forward to your presence in our region this week.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports nearly 90 percent of drug seizures including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl are being smuggled into the United States through our U.S Ports of Entry. (https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/cbp-enforcement-statistics).

During your visit, we would like to personally host you and your team for a tour of one of our three busiest ports of entry; the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge or the Anzalduas International Bridge. 

We, along with border residents share a concern for border security and stand with the brave U.S. Customs and Border Protection men and women who continue to protect our nation every day. Our officers and their facilities are stretched thin, face an overwhelming opponent in the international drug cartels, and deserve all the support you may be able to offer.

Respectfully,

Pete Saenz

Laredo Mayor

Richard Cortez

Hidalgo County Judge

Jim Darling

McAllen Mayor

Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez

Pharr Mayor

Sergio Coronado

Hidalgo Mayor

Armando O’Caña

Mission Mayor

‘Ports of Entry are Badly in Need of Improvements’


Here is the Fact Sheet issued by the South Texas elected officials:

Every day, $2 billion in economic activity comes through the U.S.-Mexico border ports of entry. Current facilities cannot handle the traffic flow, causing long wait times and costing the U.S. economy millions of dollars.

A lack of inspection personnel, technology and infrastructure to support them has resulted in the land ports of entry becoming the preferred point through which the international drug cartels smuggling their deadly contraband. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports nearly 90 percent of drug seizures including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl are being smuggled into United States through the ports. (https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/cbp-enforcement-statistics).

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan says the land ports of entry face a $4 billion deficit for needed improvements, update screening and scanning technology, expand physical processing capacity and to hire more inspectors.

He also says that 4,000 new customs inspectors and other port of entry personnel are needed according to CBP’s workforce analysis. That would help increase the current low percentage of vehicles coming into the U.S. that is inspected by CBP, currently at 18 percent.

Editor’s Note: The photo accompanying the above story shows the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. According to Hidalgo Economic Development Corporation executive director Prisciliano ‘J.R.’ Treviño, 2.5 million pedestrians and 4.5 million passenger vehicles use the bridge each year. (Photo: Mother Jones / Scott Dalton)

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