El Paso Leaders: Our Border Is Secure
February 21, 2013

Photo by Nicole Chavez
Congressman Beto O'Rourke of El Paso spoke out Wednesday with local political and community leaders about moving beyond border enforcement and focusing on reforming the nation's immigration system.

EL PASO, Texas -- The border city of El Paso wants to be a voice in the national debate over immigration reform. Political and community leaders spoke out publicly Wednesday to say enough has been done to secure the border and it's time to move on.

Earlier this month both the city and the county adopted resolutions saying their border is secure. El Paso consistently ranks among the safest large cities in America in an annual report by the publishing company CQ Press.

Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano visited El Paso two weeks ago and announced apprehensions of illegal border crossers are down 78 percent while seizures of contraband are up.

El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar said immigration reform shouldn't hinge on increased border enforcement.

"When people continue to repeat that 'we need more border security,' that's code for spending more money on walls and money on low flying drones that don't work," she said. "We don't need that kind of investment."

Instead, Escobar said funding should be redirected to the ports of entry where long wait times and poor infrastructure impede travel of commercial goods and border residents. Her office has sent the resolution passed by the city and county to other counties along the U.S./Mexico border asking them to consider adopting it.

A delegation from El Paso of political and community leaders will head to Washington, D.C. next week to discuss border issues as they relate to immigration reform.