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TBC: We Need Our Inspection Agents at their Posts Protecting Our Nation

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Mayor of Laredo, Texas and Chairman of the Texas Border Coalition
Mayor of Laredo, Texas and Chairman of the Texas Border Coalition

Texas Border Business

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LAREDO, Texas – The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) today warned that significant delays at international bridges could interfere with shoppers crossing the U.S.-Mexico border during Holy Week and inflict significant harm on the retail community.

“As border leaders, we understand the importance of border security, including at the ports of entry,” Laredo Mayor and TBC Chairman Pete Saenz wrote in a letter to Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “We strongly believe we can secure the border without impeding the free flow of legitimate trade and tourism that is crucial for our economy. We need our inspection agents at their posts protecting our nation.”

Saenz suggested the delays result from the decision by DHS to reassign border inspection agents from their duties at border ports of entry to help process migrants.

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On March 27, DHS officials announced a plan to ask volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration and other Homeland Security agencies to go to the border to help with the processing of Central American families.

TBC strongly urges DHS to implement this volunteer strategy before Holy Week begins so that CBP agents can attend to their protective duties at the land ports of entry, facilitating the trade that is essential to the economic health of the border region and the nation.

Following is the text of the TBC letter in its entirety:

April 10, 2019

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Sent via: mailto:DHSSecretary@hq.dhs.gov

Mr. Kevin McAleenan

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security

Washington, D.C. 20528

In Re: Request for CBP agents at border crossings to handle Holy Week traffic

Dear Mr. Acting Secretary:

I hope you recall our meeting at the Senate Finance Committee hearing last year on cross-border commerce and its contribution to the U.S. economy. Like you, the Texas Border Coalition that I chair places great value on cross-border trade.

As you may know, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is Mexico’s second most important holiday season after Christmas. In addition to the spiritual significance of the holiday season, Semana Santa is a major vacation and shopping time, and many Mexicans traditionally come to Texas to celebrate and shop. The week represents as large a boost in retail sales for our region as the Christmas holiday does for most of the rest of the country.

Border communities in Texas are concerned that significant delays at our international bridges could interfere with shoppers crossing the border and inflict significant harm on our retail community. The delays result from the decision by DHS to reassign border inspection agents from their duties at border ports of entry to help process migrants.

As border leaders, we understand the importance of border security, including at the ports of entry. We strongly believe we can secure the border without impeding the free flow of legitimate trade and tourism that is crucial for our economy. We need our inspection agents at their posts protecting our nation.

On March 27, DHS officials announced a plan to ask volunteers from the U.S. Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration and other Homeland Security agencies to go to the border to help with the processing of Central American families. The Texas Border Coalition strongly urges you to implement this volunteer strategy before Holy Week begins so that our CBP agents can attend to their protective duties at the land ports of entry, facilitating the trade that is essential to our regional and national economic health.

Sincerely,

Pete Saenz

Mayor of Laredo, Texas and

Chairman of the Texas Border Coalition

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