Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke at the U.S.-Mexico Border Summit on Nov. 7 commending the cooperation between the U.S. and Mexican government while criticizing the state of unrest at the southern border.
The Borderplex Alliance’s annual summit was held at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center.
DRAKE WILLIAMS/ TEJANO TRIBUNE
(L-R) Enrique Perret Erhard, Calixto Mateos, Roberto Coronado,
and Crystal Long in a panel discussing the border economy.
The event hosts a conversation on the economic trends being experienced in the region and explores options to address issues.
Business leaders and public figures from both countries attended the day-long summit to discuss the current trade situation.
“I’m here to basically celebrate a really good idea that you have developed,” said Bush, “It’s a challenging time… it troubles me to see the level of violence that now threatens the rule of law… the violence ultimately will impact investment decisions in the region.”
“Like the level of violence in Mexico, the disruption of our political system in Washington will make us pay a significant price,” Bush added.
The disruption he was speaking of is the gridlock that has held up the approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The agreement would restore the trade relationships created by the North American free-trade agreement (NAFTA). Both Canada and Mexico have already approved the deal.
“We need to pass NAFTA 2.0,” said Bush. “Because it’s important for us on a global perspective to maintain this integrated economy… there’s broad support for it but in Washington D.C. even when there is support they don’t seem to be able to find consensus.”
Bush was clear in message that immigrants are a positive driving force for the economy of the U.S.
Highlighting how immigrants open more businesses, invent more products and commit fewer crimes than native born citizens.
“If you are trying to compete in a global economy it seems to me that you would want to embrace a strategy that included immigration to take advantage of the greatness of this country,” said the former governor seemingly criticizing the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from out current president.
This message is a stark contrast to that of the White House.
Bush ran for the republican nomination for president but would lose to Donald Trump.
“We’re a self-governing people, first. Secondly, when we ask our government to do something the system is designed to bring consensus, to move to the center, to find creative solutions,” Bush said.
“Historically our country has gotten that right. Today there is none of that. There is perpetual gridlock and I think it’s a threat to our democracy.”
As Bush said, “I have a connection to Mexico…my life is a whole lot better because of Columba Bush.” His wife, the former first lady of Florida, legally immigrated from and met Jeb in Mexico.
Bush himself has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin showing his connections to the culture.