Why Is Washington Excluding El Paso Leaders From the Debate About Border Security?

El Paso is the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 20th-largest city in the United States. We are at the intersection of three states (New Mexico, Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua) and two countries, and we encompass a region with a population surpassing 2.5 million. We are a city with altitude that surrounds a mountain, and we have a state park within our city limits. El Paso is home to a large binational, bilingual, bicultural workforce and a population with a median age of 33. As a global metroplex, we have families who live and work on both sides of the border. Our sense of community is strong. Our history is strong; until 1848, El Paso was located on the south side of the Rio Grande.We are the 11th-largest U.S. land port and host six of the 28 land bridges in Texas. Our bridges accommodate 20,000 legal pedestrians crossing north daily and nearly 25 million people who cross in an automobile or on foot annually. Imports and exports -- $82 billion of annualized trade -- traverse our bridges.Our city's relationship with Mexico has ushered in an era of economic growth and regional participation. Today, dozens of Fortune 500 companies are present in Juarez, the Mexican city on the other side of our border fence, for manufacturing assembly. The maquiladora program, in which U.S. companies operate factories in Mexico, has been a great benefit to El Paso. Raw materials from the United States are sent to Mexico for manufacturing assembly and are returned. Duties are paid on the labor value added. The cross-border commerce between our states is as important as the cross-border community. Mexico is Texas' largest trading partner, and instituting policies that detrimentally affect trade is unacceptable.  Continue reading...

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