Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Border Governors Meeting

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, October 03, 2005  •  Speech

Thank you.  I am honored to be in the great border city of Mission with my friend, Mayor Beto Salinas…
…and distinguished guests from south of the Rio Grande:…
        …Governor Enrique Martinez of Coahuila…
…Governor Eugenio Hernandez of Tamaulipas…
…Governor Natividad Gonzáles of Nuevo Leon…
…Governor Fidel Herrera of Vera Cruz…
…and Governor-Elect Humberto Moreira of Coahuila.

I am also honored to be joined today by the mayor of McAllen, Richard Cortez.

We just finished a very good conversation about the special relationship that exists between Texas and Mexico.

If you think about it, the international border that is just a few minutes away from where we are today is truly the hub of commerce, opportunity and prosperity for the 21st century. 

The border region is the gateway to opportunity…not the back door to our state and nation.

Trade with Mexico is vital to our economy.

Last year Texas companies exported $46 billion in goods and services to Mexico…
…which is 40 percent of our net export total, and a ten percent increase over what we exported to Mexico the year before.

And the Texas market is big business for Mexico too…
…with $108 billion in goods and services imported to Texas from our neighbors to the south last year alone.

(pause)

The fact is we have a special relationship with ties that are deeper than commercial ventures. 

Culture, history and family bind us together in a special way.  Our prosperity…and our very future…is truly interdependent.

(pause)

I am especially grateful that the issue that was the greatest point of contention between Texas and Mexico…
…the 1944 Water Treaty…
…has been resolved, and our Valley growers have been repaid all the water they were owed. 

Some have suggested this is only the product of a rainy season. 

I hope not, because we engaged in detailed negotiations with our Mexican friends to ensure better treaty compliance even during times of drought.

Water is essential to sustaining the economy of this region…
…and it is a resource we must continue to work together to preserve as we share in its utilization.

(pause)

I am also concerned about the efficiency of border crossings. 

Trade and commerce cannot grind to a halt because of congested crossing points.

In a Post 9/11 world, there are really two distinct issues when it comes to the movement of people between our two nations…
…what happens at the points of entry, and what happens between them.

I share the goal of virtually every business leader along the border…
…of virtually every citizen along both sides of this border…
…and that is to make our border crossings as efficient as possible.

That requires continued use of new technologies…additional capacity…and added federal resources.

We must also focus on what happens between those points of entry.

It is a known fact the Al Qaeda and other terrorist and criminal organizations have sought to exploit our international border with Mexico. 

In fact, the former head of Department of Homeland Security Intelligence…
…Admiral Loy…
…testified that terrorist organizations view our international border as a prime opportunity to move people and weapons.

I think we all have a shared stake in preventing the infiltration of terrorist organizations into this country.

It is incumbent on our federal leaders to put the resources in place to address this issue, because the enforcement of border laws is a federal responsibility. 

(pause)

Whether it is trade, water, or border security…
…important issues are before us, and we can only resolve them in a spirit of friendship and with frank dialogue. 

I appreciate the friendship of these Mexican governors, and their willingness to join me today north of the border. 

Together we can build a brighter future based on common hopes and a common vision for prosperity.  Thank you. 

A good friend I would like to ask to share a few words is Governor Enrique Martinez of Coahuila…

And his successor, Governor-elect Humberto Moreira

Let me invite another friend to share some thoughts…Governor Natividad Gonzales of Nuevo Leon…

To say a few words is my good friend…the Governor of Tamaulipas, Eugenio Hernandez.

I am honored to be joined by the Governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera…

We will be happy to take your questions…

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