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Homeland Security chief recognizes importance of trade

20140121 Area Homeland-Security 0771Standing at the Anzalduas Bridge on Tuesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said part of his mission is to pay continued attention to South Texas.

“This area is an area where we see a lot of border crossings, a lot of them non-Mexicans, which presents some challenges,” Johnson said. “We need to continually evaluate whether we need more resources.”

It was the second time Johnson, who was sworn in to the post in December, had been to the Valley. The first visit was to attend the funeral of a Customs and Border Protection officer a few weeks ago.

This week, however, Johnson came with border security in mind. He accompanied Border Patrol agents on a river mission, visited a port facility and a detention center and talked with area leaders.

Johnson said his biggest takeaways have been the importance of trade across the border as well as the need to

“It has been impressed upon me a number of times that Homeland Security is not simply border security, port security,” Johnson said. “It is also facilitating and expediting trade and commerce, particularly in an area like this in which the opportunity for growth, more jobs are very, very important.”

Congressman Ruben Hinojosa said Johnson’s already picking up on many of the things he and Congressman Henry Cuellar emphasized in their meeting. Hinojosa also expressed hope for the 2,000 additional Customs and Border Protection officers included in the federal budget.

“We’re hoping that increasing the number of men and women in blue who man our ports of entry is a huge step in addressing delays at our ports of entry,” Hinojosa said. “Trade and commerce are extremely important.”

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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