Editor’s Note: Border Report was not able to catch up with Mayor Saenz in person due to the need to get back on the road and continue our trip. We provided him with questions and his office taped his responses.
LAREDO, Texas (Border Report) — Laredo’s mayor admits it’s quite common for people to try and swim across the Rio Grande to try and enter the United States illegally.
On Monday, our crews captured video of people swimming across the river and Border Patrol agents having to tell those swimmers to head back to Mexico.
“Obviously, these people are trying to get into the U.S. in an illegal manner,” Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz explained. “We pride ourselves in Laredo on enforcing the rule of law.”
RELATED LINKS: Laredo residents see various ways migrants try to cross Rio Grande
Saenz wanted to make it clear Laredo is not a sanctuary city. However, he added the town is well aware many people who live there are undocumented people from Mexico.
“Some of these folks, now, have intertwined into our community,” he added. “They serve our community, they benefit our community.”
RELATED LINKS | PHOTOS: Border Patrol monitors people swimming between Mexico and U.S.
Saenz said the city works closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies, noting a good relationship with the U.S. Border Patrol. You can listen to his thoughts on that below:
Saenz also stressed the importance of a strong relationship with its neighbor to the south, Nuevo Laredo.
“Our economies are so closely tied to each other,” noted Saenz. “Our economy in Laredo is easily 40 percent to 50 percent driven by Mexican shoppers and Mexican trade.”
RELATED LINKS: Laredo ports of entry surpassed LA briefly as No. 1 for incoming commercial goods
Saenz added it’s all about working together in a border town. Whether it’s with Mexican officials and law enforcement or federal groups in the United States, relationships are the key to continued success.
Visit the BorderReport.com homepage for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the United States-Mexico border