A panel of business leaders, diplomats and politicians from the United States and Mexico has met up in West Texas in order to talk about immigration reform as well as infrastructure investments and cross border commerce at the US-Mexico Competitiveness agenda conference, the focus of which was the relationship between Mexico and the US.
The event took place on Wednesday at the El Paso campus of the University of Texas, across from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico via the Rio Grande. “The truth about the border is not in Mexico City or Washington DC,” says Eduardo Medina, the Mexican ambassador to the United States. “You have to come to the border to know that truth.”
The Council of the Americas and UTEP hosted the conference, which focused on the two countries’ economic relationship almost two decades after the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The plan included in the immigration reform bill that was passed by the Senate in June was lambasted by El Paso Democrat Beto O’Rourke for contemplating spending as much as $46 billion on the addition of almost 700 miles of border fence and doubling the Border Patrol, even while the ports of entry remain understaffed.
“At a time with record trade between the two countries, with record low migration from Mexico, it does not make sense,” O’Rourke declared of the US immigration bill, going on to say that some of that money could be used to hire more Custom & Protection agents to try and streamline the process of inspection at border crossings.