The 21st Century Border Program is dedicated to elevating voices from our Southwest Border, today we are proud to present an open letter from Jaime Chamberlain, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americasto in Nogales, AZ, to the Republican Presidential candidates ahead of Arizona’s primary on February 28th on the need to tone down the harsh rhetoric surrounding the states border with Mexico.
The full letter can be read here, some highlights below:
“All too often the southern borders get bashed in the media with negative press that make us look like the wild west. Immigration and border violence issues get the majority of the attention. We want the media and the United States to recognize that Arizona and our Santa Cruz County are much more than those negative reports. We will be opening the most modern and energy efficient port of entry in the United States in March of 2014. The Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales is currently being remodeled with the help of approximately 200 million dollars appropriated to GSA two years ago. This is one project where government money is being used as productive investment for our economic security. We want the whole country to know what an incredible business opportunity
we have with our Mexican neighbors.
“Over 3 billion dollars worth of produce and over 18 billion dollars of Maquiladora products (twin manufacturing plants) are crossed thru Nogales and the United States on a yearly basis.
These products feed American families and give jobs to hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. These figures do not include the mining and cattle industries, which are also huge economic drivers for the State and the country. U.S. trade with Mexico reached a record $460 billion dollars in 2011. Mexico is the third largest U.S. trading partner and the second largest U.S. export market. Mexico purchased over $197 billion dollars of U.S. goods, which is 13.3% of the U.S. exports worldwide. This is an increase of 20% over the previous year. Mexico buys more U.S. goods than all of the rest of Latin America ($168 billion) and more than the combined purchases of Germany, France, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Italy ($191 billion). U.S. sales to Mexico exceed the combined U.S. sales to Brazil, Russia, India, and China-the BRIC countries ($176 billion).
Speaker Gingrich,Georgia’s trade with Mexico totals $5.6 billion annually, and 78,000 jobs in Georgia rely on trade with Mexico.
Senator Santorum,Pennsylvania benefits from $5.21 billion in trade with Mexico annually, and 75,200 jobs are directly tied to this trade.
Governor Romney,Massachusetts realized over $4.15 billion in trade with Mexico in a year, and 47,500 jobs in your state are directly tied to this trade relationship.
Congressman Paul, Texas trades over $151.35 billion of goods with Mexico annually, and 807,600 jobs in Texas are directly impacted by trade with Mexico.
For more on the important economic relationship between the United States and Mexico please see our report Realizing the Value of Crossborder Trade With Mexico.