U.S. Mexico Border Mayors Conference: The Imperative Need For Building Infrastructure On The Border

One of the more interesting aspects of being at the U.S. Mexico Border conference was being able to listen to conversations about aspects of the current immigration debate which are not often discussed in Congress or the national media. Chief among those issues was the pressing need for more infrastructure growth along the border.

While the national conversation on immigration seems to be stuck on securing the border and limiting the flow of people across our southern border; mayors who actually govern in states along the border say that securing the border does not preclude the opening of more ports of entry, and that more must be done to  find ways to make the current ports more efficient.

Border cities have received enormous amounts of support from the Department of Homeland Security. Mayors overwhelmingly pointed to drops in violence along the border,  but what they need more than anything else is to find ways to increase commerce, trade and the movement of people and goods across their border.

In speech after speech, mayors from California, Texas, and Arizona all noted that the ports of entry that their cities housed were meant to process roughly half of the current flow that they take on a daily basis.

The current ports of entry they utilize are old and slow the process of moving families from Mexico into their cities. Families from Mexico spend a lot of money on goods on the American side of the border. Mayors are concerned because wait times on the border can be 2-3 hours long, which ultimately lowers the total number of people who can move into their cities.

The other problem with old ports of entry is that the movement of goods is also slowed. The Mayors at the conference often mentioned that what would also make things better along the border are more ways to efficiently move trucking firms that move goods into and out of the country.

According to the Mayor's more infrastructure along the borders must be built. This is a time consuming  process as it requires Mayors from both the United States and Mexico to work in conjunction to find land that they both agree upon, then there is the actual building which can take some time.

Yet while all of this is pressing for the cities along the border, the national debate continues to be around security. Border Mayor after mayor say, that while they have received more than enough help on that front, it is time to move to the next phase of the plan, infrastructure.