Congressman Beto O'Rourke

Representing the 16th District of Texas

Border Representatives Stand Up for Border Communities

Jun 27, 2013
Press Release
Stress economic importance, decry further militarization of the border

Washington, DC- Congressman Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) along with Congressman Pete Gallego (TX-23), Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34), Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53), and Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-7) led a Special Order on the House floor today to talk about the positive dynamics of the U.S/Mexico border. As the country focuses on immigration reform, border communities deserve to have a voice in the policies that will affect our communities and impact our way of life.

“The border should be viewed as an economic opportunity, not as a threat. With a record number of deportations and record-low apprehensions last year and a doubling of Border Patrol 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 the economic prosperity of this country depend on it,” said Congressman O’Rourke. “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 $90 billion in trade crosses our ports of entry every year and Juarenses contribute $1.4 billion to our retail economy. Rather than further militarize our border by spending $50 billion to double the number of Border Patrol agents and build more than 700 miles of border wall for a threat that does not exist, we should focus scarce resources on economic opportunities and on real threats like terrorism, drug trafficking and smuggling.”

“The 23rd Congressional District which I represent, runs 800 miles along the Texas- Mexico border and includes five ports of entry,” said Congressman Pete Gallego. “No other congressional district shares a larger border with Mexico.  The policy discussion about border security and the passage or failure of immigration reform will greatly impact the 23rd district and the entire state of Texas. Economically, here’s what comprehensive immigration reform means: deficits decrease, while GDP, productivity, investment, and employment increase.  It’s important that members who represent the border have an opportunity to set the record straight. As public servants, the weight of our words is heavier.”

“Border communities know the true cost of our efforts to militarize their back yards, and the needs of those communities need to be accounted for in this process. We’ve already invested billions of dollars in border fence schemes, sensors that don’t work, and Border Patrol agents sent miles from where they belong – on the border – and we don’t have a lot to show for it,” said Congressman Raúl Grijalva. “We need to stop this obsessive focus on expensive, ineffective crackdowns and really start fixing the problems that need fixing. Now is the time to invest in more staff at ports of entry to improve cross-border commerce and create jobs. Now is the time for real oversight of our security agencies, especially given the migrant death toll and credible allegations of human rights abuses by our own agents. Throwing more money into projects we already know don’t work won’t strengthen this country. We need comprehensive reform that is fair, that respects the unique communities involved, and that doesn’t blow up the budget to satisfy a vocal minority.”

For video of today’s Special Order, please click here.