Border trade and safety a priority for Ducey

When it comes to safety and security at our nation’s southern border there’s still a lot of work left to be done. This was a major theme of the recent Republican Governors Association annual conference held in Scottsdale just a few weeks ago. The event brought together leaders from Republican-led states following this year’s midterm elections.

Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona was called on to discuss his take on border security and safety in the state, a topic that has been broiling as of late due to news and images of migrants traveling throughout Central America and Mexico to seek asylum at ports of entry from California to Texas.

Ducey, during a panel discussion along with South Dakota governor-elect Kristi Noem and Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts, noted the need for balance in safety and sympathy as Arizona continues its strong ties with Mexico in trade.

“There is a humanitarian and security crisis happening south of the border,” Ducey said at the conference. “We’re still going to continue to focus on border security in the state of Arizona.”

Mexico is a huge trade partner with Arizona, bringing in truck loads of produce daily and helping to boost local economies throughout the state. Governor Ducey pointed out the delicate balance between tightening border security and keeping a strong economic partnership going through trade. Trade, trucking, and tourism, are components he spelled out as building blocks for a stronger relationship.

“We can enforce public safety while building our trade relationship at the ports,” Ducey said.

In Nogales, this couldn’t be any truer. The port of entry at Arizona’s southern border sees nearly five billion pounds of healthy edibles come through it every year. This is made possible by 1,200 truckloads per day. What’s more, researchers from the University of Arizona Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics recently calculated that the trade of tomatoes alone represents nearly $5 billion in sales and supported nearly 33,000 full- and part-time jobs. The demand for fresh tomatoes has risen by 32 percent in the last 25 years and stands as a testament to the state’s growing trust in trade with Mexico.

Already there are efforts being made to boost resources and focus on making the entry process easier by boosting staff at ports of entry. A new bipartisan senate bill has been proposed to implore the Department of Homeland Security to assess their needs at each port of entry to adequately be staffed, with the goal of cutting down on wait times for trade entry.

Nick Esquer

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