Grijalva hosts hearing on border issues

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada testified Federal and local law enforcement---and the border fence have pushed violent border crime to remote areas

Grijalva hosts hearing on border issues

CREATED Feb 10, 2012

Reporter: Craig Smith

NOGALES, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - Congressman Raul Grijalva was working on border issues Friday.  He hosted three other Congressmen for a tour through the Nogales area.

Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez and California Congressman Michael Honda joined Congressman Raul Grijalva for a hearing on border issues.
Santa Cruz Sheriff Tony Estrada told them strong Federal and Local law enforcement and the border fence, have pushed violent crime to remote areas.
But Pima Medical Examiner Doctor Gregory Hess says so many border crossers die in the desert, it's over stretching his office's ability to store the bodies.
There was also testimony about the huge value of cross border trade and the need to add staff to the ports of entry to process legal shipments and stop smuggling.
Congressman Silvestre Reyes is a former Border Patrol Chief for El Paso.  He says he'd like to help immigrants become legal US residents.

He says, "We're still hopeful once we get past these elections in November that we're going to have the opportunity to do what we should have done several years ago and that's pass comprehensive immigration reform."

California Congressman Michel Honda says, "It's not about immigrants or undocumented stealing our jobs.  It's about losing in the import-export business .  When 60 percent of the stuff that comes through eastern Mexico, goes to 80 percent of our population that's economic impact that impacts almost every citizen in this country in terms of goods, services, cost of living, food and everything else like that."

KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Congressman Grijalva:"What stands in the way of some of the things you're hoping for happening?

Grijalva: "Perception and politics. No doubt the issue of immigration is going to be a wedge issue that people use to divide. Most members of Congress come to the border, stand by the wall, take a picture and say I'm tough on illegal entrants and leave."

Congressman Grijalva says with job creation a favorite topic on the campaign trail politicians should look to beefing up the border's ability to handle legal traffic north and south of the border for the business stimulus it brings.