Sep 23, 2013 9:11 PM by Erika Flores

Border community leaders to speak at Washington D.C. forum

SAHUARITA - Local leaders and business operators are on their way to Washington D.C. this week to talk about trade, travel, tourism and the economic impact of immigration reform on border communities.

About 40 people from New Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas were invited to this Southwest Border Economic Forum.

Everyone has their own opinion on how to fix border issues, but some business owners near the border said "let's start by fixing the economy."

"I think you have to work the economic problem to where you need the extra labor," said Bonnie Clausstn.

Clausstn said his family business "Maria's Grill" in Tubac hasn't had much business lately.

"It's real dead. I mean dead dead," said Clausstn.

He said it won't start picking up until October, and although he thinks immigration reform should include a pathway to citizenship, he hopes the economy picks up first.

"You have to have more money for people to be able to hire more people," said Andres Ahuactzin, owner of "Jesus Maria."

Ahuactzin, owner of "Jesus Maria" in Tubac, crosses the border twice a week to bring items from Mexico for his store.

He said adding more customs agents to the ports of entry would help business.

"It brings the traffic in much easier, faster if they have more people at the gates," said Ahuactzin.

Reverend Randy Mayer is going to D.C. for the forum.

He also wants to see more customs agents instead of more border patrol agents.

"I don't see a simplistic answer for the immigration problem," said Clausstn.


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