By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Texas Border Business
Mayor Richard García has joined 28 other Texas leaders in asking Congress to oppose President Trump’s “reckless policies regarding our U.S. Border and Mexico, our neighbor and trading partner,” according to a letter dated Tuesday, January 31, 2017.
The Edinburg Mayor, along with Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García (no relation), Brownsville Mayor Antonio “Tony” Martínez, and Rio Grande City Mayor Joel Villarreal were among the elected and appointed officials who signed the correspondence.
The group’s concerns revolve around the public statements and actions, through presidential executive orders, issued by Trump about the Border Wall, immigration policies, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and “border tax” on imports to the U.S. from Mexico.
“The President’s recent executive actions and rhetoric threaten not only lasting damage to our country’s relationship with Mexico but severe economic consequences to Border communities and the United States as a whole,” contend the Edinburg Mayor and the other leaders. “We have much to lose as a nation with the approach that the President is taking and we urge you to stand up for our communities and economy in the face of this divisive and dangerous antagonism toward the Border and Mexico.”
Trumps’ executive orders are available online at:
Executive Orders (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Executive Orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies, according to ThisNation.com.
García and his colleagues called on U.S. representatives and U.S. senators to visit the region.
“We encourage you to visit the Border communities that will be impacted by President Trump’s tactics. We would welcome the opportunity for you to learn first-hand about our already safe and secure communities as well as the economic importance of the U.S. – Mexico border,” the letter stated.
Other elected officials signing the letter were: César Blanco, State Representative, D-El Paso; Sharon Bronson, Chair, Pima County Board of Supervisors, Tuscon, Arizona; Ramsey English Cantú, Mayor, Eagle Pass, Texas; John F. Doyle, Mayor, Nogales, Arizona; Ann English, Chair, Cochise County Board of Supervisors, Bisbee, Arizona; Verónica Escobar, El Paso County Judge, Texas; Mary González, State Representative, D-Clint, Texas; Benny L. Jasso, Mayor, Deming, New Mexico; Óscar Leeser, Mayor, El Paso, Texas; Manuel Leos, Sr., Mayor, Village of Vinton, Texas; Martín Lerma, Mayor, Town of Anthony, Texas; Ken Miyagishima, Mayor, Las Cruces, New Mexico; Joe Moody, State Representative, D-El Paso, Texas; Lina Ortega, State Representative, D-El Paso, Texas; and Javier Perea, Mayor, Sunland Park, New Mexico.
Also signing the letter were Jon Barela, Chief Executive Officer, The Borderplex Alliance, El Paso, Texas; Cindy Ramos Davidson, Chief Operating Officer, El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, El Paso, Texas; and Richard Dayoub, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, Texas.
The Borderplex Alliance is a regional non-profit organization dedicated to economic development and prosperity in the Ciudad Juárez, El Paso, and southern New Mexico region, according to its website.
As a gateway for international trade, The Borderplex Alliance is the go-to resource for regional ideas, information, and influence. They are supported by a coalition of business, community and civic leaders, all with a shared vision – bringing new investment and jobs to the borderplex region and creating a positive business climate.
Mayor García also serves as President of Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García, Jr., serves as Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.
Joining the mayor on the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors are Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.
Mayor Richard Garcia and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related.
The text of the letter from these leaders follows:
January 31, 2017
Dear Honorable Members of the House of Representatives and Senate:
We write to you as members of the vibrant U.S. Mexico Border community. We are asking you to stand with us to oppose President Trump’s reckless policies regarding our U.S. Border and Mexico, our neighbor and trading partner.
The President’s recent executive actions and rhetoric threaten not only lasting damage to our country’s relationship with Mexico but severe economic consequences to Border communities and the United States as a whole. Specifically, we note the following.
The proposed Border wall is a colossally expensive and ineffective deterrent to undocumented immigration and, given that such immigration has been at historic lows, an unnecessary one at that. It will also divert resources away from more productive pursuits, such as improving and modernizing infrastructure at ports of entry, which are the lifeline of cross border trade. In short, the wall, which will be paid for by the American taxpayer no matter what funding scheme is ultimately employed, will create the illusion of security while providing no economic benefit.
Retreating from NAFTA without engaging in good-faith negotiations with Mexico would cripple trade and cause recessions in Border communities and elsewhere. As the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board recently observed, “It took the United States nearly a decade to recover from the economic wreckage of the last recession. A wealth-destroying trade war with one of America’s closest partners would threaten that long-sought recovery.”
In the face of recent threats to impose huge tariffs on Mexican imports, Mexican officials are already discussing the possibility of abandoning NAFTA. Furthermore, Mexico will no doubt immediately respond to a “border tax” with tariffs of its own or begin buying elsewhere. This will severely impact the American economy. As an example, the Wall Street Journal has observed that U.S. “sales of food and farm products to Mexico totaled a record $19.5 billion in fiscal year 2014,” representing 13% of all U.S. agricultural exports.
Anti-Mexico rhetoric has already had a chilling effect on the peso. A declining peso directly affects Border economies, which are closely intertwined with their Mexican sister cities and the Mexican economy as a whole, and it also will severely dampen U.S. exports to Mexico, the second-largest destination for U.S.-made products. In addition, a declining peso threatens to destabilize Mexico and halt its progress toward establishing a mature economy.
Selective changes to America’s immigration laws or immigration policy will not address the fundamental flaws in our country’s immigration system or make us safer. And, to the extent such changes include a policy of arresting non-criminal immigrants or those with minor criminal records, this will result in significantly increased expenditures on detention, the removal of productive workers from the U.S. economy, and placing the immigrants’ family members at risk.
We encourage you to visit the Border communities that will be impacted by President Trump’s tactics. We would welcome the opportunity for you to learn first-hand about our already safe and secure communities as well as the economic importance of the U.S. Mexico border. We have much to lose as a nation with the approach that the President is taking and we urge you to stand up for our communities and economy in the face of this divisive and dangerous antagonism toward the Border and Mexico.