Border Trade Alliance taps years of border affairs experience for testimony
SAN ANTONIO (April 30) – The Border Trade Alliance (BTA) in the span of one week is poised to offer expert testimony for lawmakers at both a state and federal level.
BTA President Nelson Balido on Tuesday, April 24 testified before a joint field hearing of the Texas state House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee and the Border and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.
The hearing, held at City Hall in Copperas Cove, Texas, examined resources and interstate cooperation devoted to border security.
In his prepared remarks, Balido commented on the discrepancy in attention paid by congressional appropriators to the Border Patrol versus Customs and Border Protection.
“The increased attention that Congress and this and previous administrations has directed towards Border Patrol has left the agency responsible for security at the ports of entry, Customs and Border Protection, coming up short in the chase for dwindling human and technological resources,” Balido said.
Border Patrol has seen a huge spike in agents since fiscal year 2004. That year, Border Patrol was allocated $4.9 billion to fund 10,817 agents. But by fiscal year 2010, Border Patrol was allocated $10.1 billion to fund just over 20,000 agents.
“As I said in my remarks, policymakers will get no argument from the trade community and the constituency that the BTA represents that the Border Patrol is somehow not an integral component of our nation’s border security strategy,” Balido said. “We believe it is important to point out, however, that we can’t continue to lament problems at our ports of entry if Congress is unwilling to devote the necessary resources required by CBP to carry out its important dual mission of trade facilitation and interdiction.”
Balido’s testimony is available on the BTA website.
The BTA will also be offering testimony tomorrow, May 1, at a special field hearing of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee’s Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee.
The hearing, scheduled to take place at 2 PM at Laredo Community College in Laredo, Texas, will focus on technology’s role in security at the ports of entry and in facilitating trade.
A copy of BTA’s remarks as prepared is also available on the BTA website.
“Whether we’re talking to state lawmakers or members of Congress, we believe it is important that those who are shaping border policy hear from those of us who live these issues day in and day out,” Balido said. “I applaud those state legislators and members of Congress who are taking the time to visit the border region and learn more about the challenges we face. While we are no strangers to visiting with them in state capitols or in Washington, D.C., there is no replacement for experience the border firsthand.”
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