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20130905 Cornyn-visit AF  1194MISSION — U.S. Senator John Cornyn emphasized the need to shorten delays at border bridges during a recent visit with area leaders.

Hiring more staff at border bridges is necessary to decrease delay times for vehicles when crossing the border, Cornyn said, adding delays cost the U.S. economy almost $8 billion, and by 2020 that amount would rise to $15 billion if changes were not made.

“We all understand that it is very important to have personal safety and security,” Cornyn said. “But it’s also important that people have jobs.”

While at a “Smart Border” round table event Sept. 5, Cornyn pointed out Mexico is the third largest trading partner with the United States. The event was hosted by CiL group, an exporter/importer of Texas and Mexican agricultural goods located in Mission. Both Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar were present to discuss security issues with local officials from across the Rio Grande Valley.  

Also present were several border mayors, including Mission Mayor Norbeto “Beto” Salinas, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, and Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal.

The senator also pushed for the separation of people who want to trade and promote growth from those who abuse Texas borders. He added the government should work on isolating the criminal element so law enforcement could do a better, targeted job.

Cuellar said the area needs security, but in a way that does not impede tourism.

“The only thing I ask CBP to keep in mind … 99 percent of the people crossing the river, or crossing the border are good people,” Cuellar said. “They are good people; we need to show them a little respect and dignity as they come across the border because they are here to spend money and help our tourism.”

Cuellar added if there is no federal money, then private sector and local funds should move forward with keeping the borders safe and set with the infrastructure for tourism.

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