SANTA TERESA, NM (KTSM) — New Mexico’s new congressman, U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez, visited the Santa Teresa Port of Entry with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar.
Vasquez said he is making getting federal investments that enhance international trade a priority.
During a press conference at the border, Vasquez, D-NM, gave some personal history, saying he grew up on both sides of the border and that his family worked in the factory industry.
“My father and my mother worked in the maquiladora industry, working to assemble parts for the aerospace industry right here in the United States and working to build the sensors in our refrigerators and our washing machines right across the border here in Ciudad Juarez,” Vasquez said.
Vasquez said the busy Santa Teresa Port of Entry needs federal money to modernize technology and upgrade border security.
“We can test the border security technologies of the future. That, coupled with the opportunity that we have to work with private industry, will be a huge, huge boost to jobs,” Vasquez said.
Workforce Solutions Borderplex spoke with KTSM 9 News about the possibility of more jobs.
“If we start to see more supply come in through the port of entry and more warehouses taking that supply in locally or even taking that supply in and transferring it elsewhere, we can most certainly expect an uptick in those jobs,” said Bianca Cervantes, spokesperson for Workforce Solutions Borderplex.
Salazar also talked about investing in 21st-century technology at the border.
“To be able to create a modern, efficient and secure border that really allows the great commerce that we see coming back and forth between Mexico and the United States, the United States and Mexico,” Salazar said.
Border security was a major topic at the press conference, with Vasquez giving examples of new technologies being implemented at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry.
“An X-ray inspection system that now has the capacity to be able to inspect 100 percent of commercial cargo,” Vasquez said, giving one example.
Salazar was asked about what the United States and Mexico are doing to stop the flow of fentanyl coming across the border.
“The president mentioned that in his State of the Union, because we recognize that tens of thousands of people are dying in the United States because of the fentanyl issue so it will continue to be one of our highest priority issues that we continue to work on the border security front,” Salazar said.