A thriving border benefits all of North America: Ricardo A. Samaniego and Jon Barela

The termination of Title 42 represents more than a regulatory shift; it offers an exceptional opportunity to overhaul our immigration policies, aligning them with the contemporary global economy and the principles that define us as a nation.

Proposed bipartisan legislation, such as The Dignity Act introduced by U.S. Reps. Veronica Escobar and Maria Elvira Salazar embodies a legislative effort that combines bipartisan support and a pragmatic approach to address the humanitarian, economic, and strategic challenges facing our nation. These measures prioritize efficiency and the humane treatment of migrants while also striving to maintain border security and uninterrupted trade flows.

This approach along with a fair, humane, and well-regulated guest worker program would also help relieve inflationary pressures and help businesses find the workers they need in our overly tight labor market.

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Contrary to prevailing narratives, El Paso and the surrounding Borderplex region have flourished, thanks to our location on the southern border. We have maintained our status as one of the safest communities in the United States for decades. Our strategic embrace of our geographic position and emphasis on trade have propelled us into a critical role in the North American economy, placing us at the forefront of the reshoring revolution.

Today, a remarkable one in four jobs in the Borderplex region directly ties to cross-border commerce. We've grown into an industrial powerhouse, now ranking as the fifth-largest manufacturing hub in North America. This success attests to the potential that emerges from open minds and open markets.

Our economic partnership with Mexico, forged over centuries, has consistently served as a pillar of stability and prosperity for both nations. Despite recent turbulence, this partnership has only strengthened, as reflected in the success of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Thanks to the fortitude and vision of our North American leaders, the USMCA has successfully streamlined cross-border commerce, stimulating economic growth in the Borderplex region and across our respective nations.

The recent hemispheric migration crisis at our southern border is not insurmountable. It calls for courage, compromise, and a forward-looking perspective. As the United States and broader North America chart a path forward against the backdrop of China's growing ambitions, we must remember that our strength lies in our unity and collective ability to adapt and grow. The shared history of the United States and Mexico, our intertwined economies, and our common future necessitate further economic integration. This approach is guided by the understanding that a thriving border benefits all of North America while simultaneously stifling China’s aggressive and nefarious attempts to position itself as the dominant power in our hemisphere.

To sustain our position as the dominant global economy, America must draw upon one of its most potent assets: human capital. Notably, while China endeavors to surpass the US as the primary global economic power, it will face the effects of declining birthrates in the coming decades, potentially losing 100 million workers over the next 20 years. Fortunately, millions of people worldwide aren't seeking asylum in China.

Let El Paso and the broader Borderplex region serve as a model. Let's seize this moment to build a stronger, safer, and more prosperous North America.

Ricardo A. Samaniego is El Paso County Judge and Jon Barela is CEO of the Borderplex Alliance.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: America must draw upon one of its most potent assets: human capital