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Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 20:22
EL PASO — In a week, several political leaders and immigration groups in the borderland will take on Capitol Hill to tackle immigration reform.
Wednesday, they got together to prepare a unified front.
Leaders from the County of El Paso, the City of El Paso, the Border Network for Human Rights, the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, religious groups and Congressman Beto O'Rourke all gathered to advocate for reform that includes El Paso's perspective in Washington, D.C.
They hope that by uniting, they can have more impact on legislation being discussed.
"When the Chamber makes their trip up to D.C., if they're saying the same things elected leaders are saying when they go to D.C., and the Border Network is saying, and the Congressman is saying, then I think there will be a clearer, better understanding of what we are as a border," said District 2 City Rep. Susie Byrd.
While they are encouraged by bi-partisan groups working together to pass comprehensive immigration reform, several El Paso leaders are opposing proposals to beef up security at the border.
"If we don't put resources where they're needed, like have more customs agents at our ports of entry, and instead put them to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, we're going to lose out on job creation in El Paso," said U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
O'Rourke believes more security is unnecessary, as El Paso's already the safest city in the nation.
He believes if the U.S. doesn't put resources at the ports of entry, it could put 6 million jobs nationwide that depend on border trade at risk.
The group will travel to D.C. Feb. 27 to present their ideas to lawmakers.