Congressman Beto O'Rourke (TX-16) released the following statement today as President Barack Obama traveled to Mexico to meet with new President Enrique Peña Nieto to discuss trade, immigration reform, border security, and drug policy.
"Today's visit between the two Presidents is of great importance for El Pasoans and both Mexico and the United States. As they prepare to discuss issues of border security, immigration, trade and drug trafficking, I hope they take into consideration the perspective of a bi-national community such as El Paso and Cuidad Juarez," said Congressman O'Rourke.
"With a record number of deportations and apprehensions last year and a doubling of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents since 9/11, our border is more secure than it has ever been. Now is the time to focus resources on the legal and efficient movement of people and goods across our border. Our way of life and economic prosperity depends on it. The cross-border trade between the two countries is a source of 6 million jobs in the U.S. and millions more in Mexico. In El Paso alone, more than $80 billion in trade crosses our ports of entry every year and Juarenses contribute $1.6 billion to our retail economy. This commerce helps support more than 100,000 jobs in the region. Rather than further militarize our border, we should allocate resources accordingly to reap economic opportunities and focus on the real threats like terrorism, drug trafficking and smuggling.
Furthermore, I hope President Obama reiterates his support for comprehensive immigration reform. El Pasoans have long dealt with immigration laws that break up families and ignore economic realities. Now is the time to fix our broken immigration system and allow millions of people living in the shadows to come out and become productive members of their communities.
Our countries are connected by a long history of cooperation, migration, and economic and cultural ties, I trust that today's meeting will help strengthen that relationship and pave the way for continued growth and collaboration."