DOÑA ANA COUNTY HOSTS BORDER COUNTIES COALITION MEETING IN LAS CRUCES

DOÑA ANA COUNTY HOSTS BORDER COUNTIES COALITION MEETING IN LAS CRUCES

Elected officials from 24 counties along the 1,300-mile United States/Mexico border will meet at the Hilton Hotel in Las Cruces in mid-June to discuss a coordinated Congressional lobbying agenda.

Doña Ana County Commissioner Carlos Garza, who was instrumental in bringing the convention to Las Cruces, said the coalition’s goals represent an opportunity for border counties to align themselves in meaningful ways and address common concerns that non-border areas do not face.

“From health care and education to drug interdiction and illegal immigration, border counties like ours have a wide range of issues to bring before Congress,” Garza said. “The June convention of the U.S./Mexico Border Counties Coalition in Las Cruces will give us the opportunity to flesh out a lobbying campaign that will effectively communicate our common concerns and priorities to the people who hold the purse strings in Washington, D.C.”

Core agenda items for the elected county representatives from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, Garza said, will include: meeting with representatives of other organizations to better understand their respective missions in relation to border issues; determining how the coalition can make itself available to assist with border-issues lobbying for outside organizations; receiving and updating the coalition’s congressional and federal agency agenda; and establishing a quick-response team of members from each state who would coordinate support or opposition to congressional or federal agency actions.

The keynote speaker for the June 11-12 convention will be Robert Bach, executive commissioner for policy and planning for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Key officials from the Border Trade Alliance, the U.S./Mexico Chamber of Commerce, and the North American Development Bank also are anticipated to participate.

The entire convention is open to the public. The meetings are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Friday, June 11 at the Las Cruces Hilton. A press conference at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, will be the final item on the agenda.

Doña Ana County Commission Chairman Gilbert T. Apodaca said he is pleased that the coalition is coming to Las Cruces.

“We’re honored to host the Border Counties Coalition,” Apodaca said. “We believe the coalition represents an opportunity for us to address the many challenges that face all elected officials from border counties like ours. I congratulate and commend Commissioner Garza for his work to bring the meeting to Doña Ana County.”