After years of beefing up border security, the Department of Homeland Security will be in Laredo today to announce $62 million in improvements to improve the operations of the international bridges to smooth commerce between the U.S. and Mexico, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and the head of the General Services Administration will announce plans to install technology to modernize vehicle and pedestrian customs searches at the port, with a goal toward eliminating what U.S. Rep Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) calls 'the parking lot' which frequently forms on the bridges.
"I would rather have people spend time in our stores in Laredo and San Antonio, rather than be stuck on that parking lot of a bridge due to the long wait," Cuellar said.
Cuellar says everybody supports border security, but in the rush to militarize the border, he says the all important commerce between the U.S. and Mexico has frequently been ignored.
"To make sure that our waiting lines are smaller and faster at the bridges, and I think that is good for our economy," Cuellar said.
He says anybody who walks through the parking lots at the Shops at La Cantera or North Star Mall and looks at all the Mexican license plates realizes the importance of commerce from Mexico to the San Antonio economy.
He says the money will also pay for new customs officers who will not only speed travel across the bridges, but will be another line of defense for drug and human smugglers coming across from Mexico.