U.S., Mexico Border Mayors Gather Today in San Antonio

Mayors of communities north and south of the Rio Grande have gathered in San Antonio for today's annual meeting of the U.S. Mexico Border Mayors Association, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Pete Saenz, the Mayor of Laredo, says despite the perception that the U-S Mexico border is wrapped up in immigration chaos, his community is actually booming, thanks to increasing levels of trade.

"For us, the primary challenge is infrastructure," he said.  "We are the number one land port in all of the Americas and we see up to 20,000 trucks daily."

Saenz says Laredo is the number one land port of entry in North America, and it is second only to Long Beach California as the largest port overall.  He says that has led to major job growth and development in Laredo, as well as cash for both the local and the federal government.

He says that growth has led to a need for additional highway, bridge, and inspection station infrastructure.

As far as immigration goes, Saenz says he continues to fight against plans for a border wall, but he would support using more tech to deter illegal entry.

"We have been strongly against the wall, but, with a virtual wall, we do want to cooperate," he said.  "We do recognize that the borders need to be secure."

He says the key to coming up with a more secure border is comprehensive immigration reform, but that seems to be a dream as Washington DC gets more and more dysfunctional.

"I personally am a strong proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, and I would like to get there, but unfortunately, Republicans and Democrats can't seem to see eye to eye on that."

Saenz pushes back at the impression that many people who live away from the border get that the border is a lawless place which is regularly overrun by criminal illegal immigrants.  He says the Laredo economy is strong, and the immigration crisis does not dominate people's lives or conversations.

IMAGE: GETTY

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