Other big names the Guggenheims, the Meyers, Rockefellers, Carlos Slim, George H.W. Bush
Other big names the Guggenheims, the Meyers, Rockefellers, Carlos Slim, George H.W. Bush
This was written by Nelson Balido of the BTA:
I was reviewing the president's budget, and buried deep in the section relating to the Department of Homeland Security, there is language directing the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection to carry out a study of the potential impacts of collecting a border crossing fee on pedestrians and private vehicles at our country's land borders.
Just because the government has fallen behind during the past four years in funding our nation's ports of entry with up-to-date technology or better infrastructure does not mean that it should now study the collection of a tax to fund those endeavors. For much of the border there are already tolls being collected by municipalities and port authorities for every crossing. This would mean a new tax on top of the existing toll, or a fee where there is no existing fee in exchange for who-knows-what.
Let me spare the government the cost of carrying out such a study: A border crossing tax would be devastating, costing thousands of jobs in border communities that depend on our neighbors' ability to securely cross our borders to shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, stay in our hotels, visit our tourist attractions and spend time with family and friends.
Slapping a tax on border crossings is a move fraught with economic danger. Visitors from Mexico and Canada represent over 56 percent of all international travelers to the U.S. according to data from the U.S. Travel Association, and the economic health of our border states is closely linked to the ability to attract Mexican travelers. Consider the data:
In Arizona, nearly 99 percent of Mexican visitors come from the neighboring state of Sonora, with over 30,000 direct and indirect jobs tied to Mexico-to-Arizona tourism.
In Texas, spending by Mexican nationals injects over $5.1 billion into the economies of South and Central Texas and supports more than 150,000 jobs.
Visitors from Mexico to California spent over $1.7 billion in 2011.
Mexican visitors to the U.S. are, as Raul Salinas, the mayor of the border community of Laredo, Texas so accurately states, "The best type of visitors." They inject outside dollars into communities, generating jobs and spurring business growth, but without creating a drag on public services. In other words, border-crossing visitors come to the U.S. to shop and spend money, not to visit the public library.
For Mexicans, visiting the U.S. is no picnic. It involves a visit to a U.S. consulate for an in-depth interview and vetting process in order to secure a Border Crossing Card. It most likely requires an hours-long wait in a line of cars waiting to get through the port of entry. Depending on whether the Customs and Border Protection officer the traveler first encounters needs more information, it could mean a lengthy inspection in a secondary screening area. And finally, depending on the traveler's destination, it might mean obtaining an I-94 entry/departure record for a $6 fee and supplying the required myriad of additional information items that proves fiscal solvency in the traveler's home country. It's a wonder they want to come at all. Why in the world would we want to make the process more difficult, more expensive?
Instead of creating new barriers between the U.S. and our neighbors, we should be looking for ways to make the border-crossing experience easier, with fewer hassles and less expense. If Washington is hoping it can solve its fiscal woes by sticking our neighbors with the bill, it's going to be disappointed. Instead it should better support the establishment of new private-public partnerships for infrastructure and technology so that local municipalities have a say in what happens in their communities at the ports of entry and in-between.
Instituting a new border tax is a very bad idea that doesn't need to be studied, it needs to be rejected.
Nelson Balido is the principal at Balido and Associates, a public affairs firm. He is the former president of the Border Trade Alliance and a former member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. He can be reached at his what's interesting to you
By Diana Washington Valdez/Border Cafe
The Mexican federal Attorney General's Office announced the arrest of 27 men and women whom officials identified as members of the insurgent Movimiento de Accion Revolucionaria (MAR-Action), including several who told authorities that they were trained in North Korea in 1969 and 1970, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable dated Oct. 26, 1973.
Online whistleblower WikiLeaks released the document in its latest batch of diplomatic cables; the new releases date back from the former State Secretary Henry Kissinger-era.
The cable states that those arrested included nine women and a citizen of Spain.
After the apprehension of MAR-Action ringleaders in 1971, the "remaining members decided to regroup, recruit additional members, stage robberies for living expenses and purchase weapons, rent houses in various parts of (the) country for training centers, and 'in general, create (a) climate of violence and terrorism.' (Mexico's) Statement also details liaison efforts with other subversive groups, including Frente Estudiantil Revolucionario and '23 September League' in Guadalajara,' Party of the Poor led by Lucio Cabañas Barrientos in Guerrero, Union del Pueblo in Oaxaca and (the) Federal District," according to the document.
"Specific crimes," the document states," with which (the) group is charged are robberies in Jalisco, Oaxaca, Queretaro, Michoacan, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and (the) Federal District.
"Prisoners have reportedly confessed that they had under surveillance and planned to kidnap managers of two banks in (the) town of Zamora, Michoacan."
The cable further states that the Mexican attorney general's statement, "in referring to (the) capture of Mar-Action leaders in early 1971, recalls that they had travelled to North Korea via East Berlin and Moscow. but quite naturally makes no reference to GOM's (Government of Mexico) retaliatory explusion of five Soviet embassy personnel at the time."
Another U.S. diplomatic cable from this batch of releases details how one of the insurgent groups in Mexico allegedly also had plans to kidnap the U.S. consul in Juarez, Chihuahua. More on that later.
By Diana Washington Valdez
A U.S. diplomatic cable on the “anti-drug campaign” in Juárez mentions the arrests of Ignacia “La Nacha” Jasso, the border city’s notorious drug-trafficker, and two Mexican federal agents. The cable dated March 15, 1973, among the latest releases by online whistleblower WikiLeaks, says that the Mexican government was taking actions against narcotics violators in the Juárez area. Other details from the cable include that Mexican federal Attorney General Ojeda Paullada had dispatched a special 10-man force under the leadership of Mexican official Ricardo de los Rios Garcia to the area to investigate trafficking. “One of (the) first acts of that group was to place two federal judicial police agents under arrest,” the cable says. “These two, Jesus Martinez Cabrera and Eduardo Valdez Uranga, allegedly were protecting known traffickers.” The cable goes on to say that “Warrants have been issued for (the) arrest of (the) infamous “shooting gallery operator ‘La Nacha’ and her grandson ‘El Arabe.’ One unconfirmed report reaching (the U.S.) embassy March 14 was that (La Nacha) has been arrested and her bank account in (the) amount of some three million dollars impounded.” Jasso’s grandson was “Hector Gonzalez,” alias ‘Arabe,’ whom authorities had said was part of the family’s drug-trafficking business. Officials said the organization supplied users with heroin and marijuana for decades. “U.S. law enforcement officials with long experience in Mexico and along the border report that they can recall no precedent for (such) vigor with which this campaign is proceeding. Although the case is still unfolding, result(s) to date indicate that “task force” technique(s) employed in San Luis Colorado () and now Ciudad Juárez can be effective,” according to the cable. “Beyond (the) immediate arrest and seizures, we would hope that word (will) spread to other areas and have salutatory disruptive effect(s). Indeed reports about pressure being applied in Nuevo Laredo area seems to have had such results. - Dean.” Although the cable does not make a direct connection between the arrested federal agents and Jasso, it does suggest that Jasso enjoyed the protection of corrupt law enforcement who helped her stay at the forefront of the drug trade much longer than any of the modern drug kingpins that are being sought by officials on both sides of the border. ###
FBI issued the following statement today:
Gov. Rick Perry today announced the Governor’s Office is offering a cash reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or people responsible for the deaths of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia. Kaufman County Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or people responsible for the death of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse.
“Words cannot describe the shock and grief this community has suffered over the last several months. The criminals responsible for these murders will be caught, convicted and will pay the price for these horrific crimes,” Gov. Perry said. “I have full confidence that this investigation will lead to the conviction of whoever perpetrated these insidious crimes, and it is my hope and expectation that these rewards will help convince those who may be holding onto important information to come forward.”
Anyone with information that could be helpful to investigators is urged to call Kaufman County Crime Stoppers at 1-877-847-7522 or email anonymous information to Kaufman County Crime Stoppers at http://kaufmancountycrimestoppers.org <http://kaufmancountycrimestoppers.org> .
This reward is funded through court fees distributed by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division to apprehend fugitives.
Additionally, the FBI has launched billboards throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico encouraging tipsters to contact Crime Stoppers with any information. Billboards have been donated by the Outdoor Advertising Association of Texas, which includes Clear Channel Outdoor and Lamar Advertising, with additional space donated by Fairway and CBS.
Texas Crime Stoppers programs provide a partnership between the public, law enforcement agencies and the media in order to speed identification and apprehension of criminals and the solution to unsolved crimes. Programs accept anonymous tips and provide cash rewards if a tip leads to an arrest or indictment.###
This blog is an ongoing discussion of news and events related to the border. Depending on which dictionary you follow, border is defined as outer part or edge (Merriam-Webster), or a line between two countries (Oxford). In this part of the world, our geographical borders include the U.S.- Mexico, Texas-Chihuahua and El Paso-Juárez. Diana Washington Valdez is an author-journalist who has reported on border issues for the El Paso Times for more than 15 years.
Follow Diana Washington Valdez on Twitter @EPTimesDiana
Email her at email@example.com