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Mayors Decry Exclusion from Border Policymaking and Implementation Process

MADISON, WI (June 17, 2002) — During the Cities and Borders Task Force of the 70th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, mayors agreed that the inability to process and move people and cargo efficiently and securely at the borders and other ports-of-entry costs American cities, businesses and workers.

Mayors from border and non-border cities in diverse parts of the country, led by Borders Task Force Co-Chair Laredo Mayor Betty Flores discussed trade, commerce, immigration and federal-local law enforcement issues saying that city economies and the economic livelihood of Americans throughout the country are adversely affected by policies that are being implemented without any input from Mayors and cities.

Flores urged that Mayors be included in border policymaking and consulted by the agencies charged with implementing it. "Federal agencies, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Agency, have demonstrated a chronic disregard for what border cities have been telling them about locating inspection stations and garages in the middle of cities at border bridges and bridgeheads where traffic congestion will slow down commerce and international trade, and also increase security risks and pollution hazards," said Flores. "Security and safety is as much a concern for us as it is for them. We're there on the border, doing the daily business of America's economy. We know what has worked, we know what will work."

The slowdown in cross-border trucking as a result of added security and the slow implementation of technology solutions has caused factory relocations from Mexico to other parts of the world with implications for the U.S. industry and workers. "Smart harmonized border policy is critical to a vibrant economy," Flores added. "Trucks aren't crossing the border quickly enough. People can't cross the border to go to work, tourists can't cross the border to visit. The result has been severely reduced commercial activity. Mayors concurred that inclusion and consultation in the policymaking process, and the implementation of technology is required as soon as possible."

The US Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each city is represented by its chief elected official, the Mayor. There are well over 1100 such cities in the country today.

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Contact:
Justin O'Brien: 202/861-6761