The El Paso-based Borderplex Alliance hosts its annual summit Thursday with an eye on bringing border-based solutions to bi-national issues of trade and immigration.
"Securing our border and facilitating legitimate trade are not incompatible concepts," said Jon Barela, executive director of the nonprofit Alliance, which advocates for economic development in the El Paso-Juárez-Las Cruces region. "One is directly related to the other."
This year's objective is to develop "solutions and ideas to move forward the policymakers in Washington, D.C., and Mexico City," Barela said, with a focus on trade regulation, reducing wait times at ports of entry and securing funding for port infrastructure.
Headlining the conference is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
"Politics is never far from the surface in relations with Mexico," said Eric Farnsworth, also a speaker and vice president of the New York-based Council of the Americas, an organization representing multinational companies operating in the Americas.
"From trade to security to energy, immigration, and the environment, cooperation with Mexico is fundamental to the well-being of our own nation," Farnsworth said. "These issues are complicated enough even without the overlay of presidential elections; the conference is a timely reminder from the border community that we are neighbors and always will be, and that we have no other choice but to find a way to make our partnership work."...