Dennis E. Nixon, Chairman and CEO of IBC Bank in Laredo, Texas and Woody L. Hunt, Senior Chairman of Hunt Companies, Inc. in El Paso, Texas Offer the Following Advice - Seite 2
Third, we encourage your designee for secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, to enact a 6-month moratorium on the expensive wall construction and land condemnation along the U.S.-Mexico border, and instead establish more effective, less costly measures for border security in Texas. While border wall construction in Arizona is predominately on federally-owned land such as military bases or national parks, in Texas the bulk of wall construction would be targeted for private property and severely impede farmers and ranchers’ reasonable use of their land by destroying access to the Rio Grande River.
Rather than a wall, common-sense tactics to improve border security should include two of the highest priority requests from Border Patrol agents: cleaning up the Rio Grande riverbanks by removing non-native Carrizo cane and salt cedar to create a clear line of sight along the river banks and removing barriers to allow agents to better access the riverbank. Along with the deployment of a video surveillance network to quickly detect, track and respond to border threats, these steps would enhance border security far more effectively than a costly wall.
Finally, your administration should immediately lift the restrictions on surface crossings at our borders with Mexico and Canada. Businesses already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastated by the Department of Homeland Security’s supposedly temporary border closures instituted in the early days of the pandemic. They continue to drag on, without any scientific or medical rationale.
After nine months of shutting out so-called non-essential travel across U.S. borders, including shoppers who account for as much as 60 percent of retail sales in border communities, the restrictions have left many businesses unsure if they will be able to come back once the pandemic is over.
Your first 100 days will be critical, and the steps your administration takes in that time will chart the course for our nation - and your administration -- over the next four years. We urge you to restore to Washington a proper appreciation and understanding for the role the border plays in our national security and economic prosperity. It will serve you and the country well.