Pharr, Texas – Pharr city officials welcomed a delegation of leaders from throughout the nation and Mexico today as hosts of the multi-agency United States – Mexico Binational Bridges and Border Crossings Group (BBXG) East Regional Meeting which took place at the Pharr Events Center.

“The City of Pharr is very proud to have this meeting here in our great city,” said Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. as he welcomed the delegation of leaders. “We represent one of many ports of entry across the Rio Grande Valley and the nation, from San Diego, California, down to South Padre Island, Texas,” he continued. “Our collective economies on both sides of the border rely on this important trade and commerce and today we are here to discuss how we can further streamline and improve our processes moving forward as we prepare to transition from NAFTA to USMCA,” he added. “Our borders serve as a bridge to humanity and unity, and as such, I am proud of the great work we are all doing on the U.S. and Mexican sides of the border to ensure that our economies and international trade continue to thrive,” said Hernandez. 

Joining Mayor Hernandez in presenting Opening Remarks were Froylan Yescas Cedillo, Consul of Mexico to McAllen, Maki Esther Ortiz Domínguez, Mayor of Reynosa, Mario Chacon, Director General for North America, SRE, and Rebecca Daley, Border Affairs Coordinator, U.S. Department of State.

“I am proud to be part of these discussions among leaders of our binational bridges and border crossings,” said Dra. Maki Esther Ortiz Domínguez, Mayor of Reynosa. “We value these types of meetings and discussions as they help to strengthen business, trade, commerce, and relationships on both sides of the border,” she added. “These types of initiatives generate peace, provide economic development opportunities, education, and move our economies, businesses, and relationships forward, allowing us to prosper,” said Ortiz Dominguez. “The relationships we have cultivated amongst our borders are a model to the rest of the world of how to successfully coordinate, collaborate, and plan for our future together,” she stated. 

“It’s amazing to see this type of relationship among two nations, we are more than neighbors, we are family and the truth is that something beautiful exists between our two countries, and that is our culture,” said Terry Canales, House Transportation Chairman, and Texas State Representative. “The economic impact with Mexico and what it does for the United States and Texas is immeasurable and we will continue to advocate for more resources, funding, and infrastructure to keep our bridges and border crossings thriving,” he said. 

“Our U.S. – Mexico relationship is symbiotic and with the new USMCA agreement, we expect many new changes which will result in new economic opportunities, needed infrastructure upgrades, and continued collaboration amongst our countries and borders as we make the transition,” stated Froylan Yescas Cedillo, Consul of Mexico to McAllen. “Our economies rely on our trade, which is estimated at about $1 million a minute and we have a unique cooperative relationship which allows us to work together and prosper in unity,” he continued.

“Rather than divide us the border is what unites us and our combined efforts to improve our border infrastructure will ensure the flow of goods, services, and lawful travelers is efficient and to the benefit of both countries,” said Rebecca Daley, Border Affairs Coordinator with the U.S. Department of State. “Our trade relationship with Mexico continues to grow and in fact in 2019, Mexico became the largest goods trading partner for the United States with most crossing the border in trucks and trains,” added Daley. “Today, I look forward to discussing additional ways to streamline the flow of trade in the border region and to discussing ways our countries can work together to develop regular bidirectional cargo inspection facilities at various ports of entry,” she said. 

“Our two countries stand to benefit greatly from USMCA,” emphasized Mario Chacon, Director General for North America, SRE. “Working together, we are able to pool our resources to expand our economic and trading opportunities,” he stated. “I look forward to our discussions today as we seek to improve the vitality of our international bridges and borders and thank all our colleagues here today who make up this amazing binational group focused on improving our future,” he added. 

“It’s an honor to represent the City of Pharr and work hand-in-hand with the commission to make sure that we work in partnership to bring big projects that impact our international bridges and our borders to reality,” said Sergio Muñoz, Jr., House Appropriations Member, and Texas State Representative. “At the state level, I am proud to champion and advocate the importance of Pharr and the role it plays in our state and national economy,” he continued. “Our economy relies on the success of international trade at the borders which result in the exchange and flow of goods, commerce, jobs, produce, and products which impact our daily lives,” added Muñoz. “I look forward to today’s discussion and working with all our partners here to ensure a more prosperous and secure border as we transition to USMCA.”

“The Pharr International Bridge is proud to be a part of this amazing binational effort of our bridges and border crossings as we continue to make big investments and improvements to infrastructure in our region,” said Luis Bazan, Pharr International Bridge Director. “We have fostered innovative and collaborative partnerships with all our border partners on both sides of the border and by working together as one collective group, we have the ability to advocate for more resources, funding, and improvements to both our governments which will result in streamlining efforts,” he added. 

The group, made up of leaders from the United States Department of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, the Consulate of Mexico in McAllen, and officials from ten U.S. and Mexican border states meets three times a year to further joint initiatives that improve the efficiency of existing crossings and coordinate planning for new ones. Public presentations also included updates and discussions with over ten bridge personnel and directors from both sides of the border.