US-MX Border Philanthropic Partnership: British Diplomats visit Borderlands

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The U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership (BPP) was honored to assist the British government in a recent visit to Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. 

The delegation included Deputy Chief of Mission at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. the Honorable James Roscoe, British Ambassador to Mexico the Hon. Jon Benjamin, and British Consul General in Houston Richard Hyde. 

During the two-day visit, the representatives visited with the Mayor Victor Treviño of Laredo, Texas, Mayor Carmen Lilia Canturosas of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Consul General of Mexico in Laredo Ambassador Juan Carlos Mendoza, Consul General of the United States in Nuevo Laredo Erika Zielke, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Laredo, His Excellency Bishop James Tamayo, President of Texas A&M International University Dr. Pablo Arenaz, IBC Bank Executive Vice President Gerald Schwebel, Pastor of Christ Church Episcopal Reverand Paul Frey, Laredo Area Community Foundation Board Chair Christina Cerda, Arca Continental Coca Cola Southwest Beverages leaders Ada Ortega and Hugo Audiffred, and BPP leaders Eduardo “Lalo” Acosta of RL Jones Customhouse Brokers, Louis R. Escareño Attorney at Law. 

BPP staff included Executive Director Andy Carey and Mexico Representative Maria Laura Muñoz. In addition to the visits with public and private officials, the BPP hosted a dinner for 80 community leaders from both sides of the Border to engage a dialogue with the visiting delegation related to trade, commerce, trilateral relations, and the issue of migration.

The delegation shared insights on the British government post Brexit, as well as thoughts on dealing with the challenges related to global migration. Deputy Chief Roscoe commented that he wanted to see for himself what was going on at the U.S.-Mexico Border. In discussions with Washington, D.C. based policy makers, “many complain about the Border, but have never visited, so I decided to see for myself.” 

The delegation also completed a tour of the Laredo Port of Entry and engaged discussions with the Department of Homeland Security. The last visit was to Catholic Charities and their migrant shelter in Laredo. 

The visit was very informative, says Ambassador Benjamin. During our visit we were able to meet individuals from Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and Haiti.” The shelter is operated by Catholic Charities and handles more than 150 individuals each day. 

On this day, we met with more than 100 individuals, says BPP’s Andy Carey, but at least another 200 arrived during our visit. This is a humanitarian crisis that must be addressed in a humane way, says Carey. These people are just looking for a dignified life with clothes on their back, a roof over their head, and food on a plate.” 

The visit was possible due to the generous support of Arca Continental Coca Cola Southwest Beverages, IBC Bank, Hank and Elizabeth Sames, Louis R. Escareño, and Texas A&M International University.

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