Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dispatch from Mexico: Arizona Delegation Visits with Mexican Senate

The latest entry from Glenn Hamer, who is traveling with a bipartisan delegation to Mexico City.

Our delegation on Wednesday visited with Mexican senators to discuss the unique relationship between the U.S. and Mexico and, more specifically, Arizona and Mexico. Our discussion with the five senators lasted almost two hours.

The state of our shared border was raised, with all in agreement that the issue of security unites us. More streamlined customs processes and improved resources at our ports can not only strengthen our competitiveness, but they can strengthen our security as well.

We also discussed the need for improved transportation infrastructure. Speaker Tobin shared with the Mexican senators the potential for Interstate-11 linking Las Vegas and Phoenix, and we heard from Jaime Chamberlain, past chairman of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Nogales, Ariz. about some of the bottlenecks experienced on the Mexican side of the border and in trying to move freight out of the Mariposa port of entry on U.S. highways.

Rep. Juan Carlos Escamilla, former mayor of San Luis, Ariz. shared the challenges of moving agricultural workers in and out of the port in that city. Sixty-five thousands workers cross the border every day to work in Yuma County, the supplier of lettuce and winter vegetables for much of the world. Rep. Escamilla has a lot of insight on this issue and could be a great resource for potential reforms.

As we experienced throughout the trip, the Mexican senators were extremely warm and welcoming and very interested in learning more about our shared interests. I’m thankful to Speaker Tobin for his leadership of this mission and for inviting members of the business community to participate. 

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