The Obama Administration has dedicated historic levels of manpower, technology, and infrastructure to the Southwest border to ensure the safety of border communities, and these resources have made a significant impact. Some of America’s safest communities are in the Southwest border region, with border city crime rates staying steady or dropping over the past decade.
The security of our border communities strengthens the prosperity of the region. From San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas, hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce come across the border each year, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. Thanks in part to the administration’s major investments to improve border infrastructure at our land ports of entry, the value of the trade crossing the Southwest border increased 22 percent in fiscal year 2010 alone.
Yet, local leaders in border communities say misinformation about the safety of the Southwest border is hurting their communities, driving potential visitors away and hurting local businesses.
The reality is that the Southwest border is open for business. El Paso, Texas is one of the best examples. Not only have crime statistics shown it to be one of the safest big cities in the country, but the value of imports crossing into the United States through El Paso has risen 40 percent just in the last year.
In fact, today I was in El Paso to meet with local officials and business leaders to discuss ways that we can help strengthen trade and travel in the region and help set the record straight about the safety and economic opportunities in their communities.
We all agree that the challenges at the border are real – but so is the progress we’ve made over the last two years. I’m proud to join with our border communities in spreading the word that the Southwest border is, indeed, open for business.