When President Trump visits the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday to highlight his concerns about border security, mayors of communities up and down the Rio Grande plan to provide the President with some ideas on how the $5 billion in wall money he is demanding could be used more productively, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
A letter to the President from the Texas Border Coalition, stresses that 90% of the illegal drugs and undocumented immigrant smuggling, the very things the President stated in last night's Oval Office address are the things he wants to end, occur not in the wide open areas where the wall would be built, but at existing ports of entry.
The Texas border officials say that $5 billion would be much better utilized by hiring 4,000 more customs inspectors and port of entry personnel, and to update screening and scanning technology, expand physical processing capacity, and hiring more inspectors.
The TBC says while a wall would do nothing to boost the U.S. economy, streamlining the U.S. Ports of Entry would allow them to better handle the increased traffic flow caused by increased trade with Mexico and Latin America. The group says currently, trade is held up by long wait times which cost the U.S. economy millions of dollars.
Every day, $2 billion in economic activity comes through the U.S. Mexico border Ports of Entry. The Port of Laredo alone handles up to one quarter of that traffic, and is the largest inland port in North America.
“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.”