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HUMANE? 2 Texans take forward steps

Legislation filed this week by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, the HUMANE Act, would reduce what Cornyn says is the number of “heart-breaking stories” at our southern border related to a massive backlog of immigration cases involving migrants and unaccompanied children.

The senator said the bill would ensure family unity and enhance due process at the border. With summer approaching — it is a time when apprehensions at the border usually increase — Congress must act, if its membership is committed to humanitarian resolutions. That’s a big “if”; political partisans may relish chaos at the border to forward their own agendas.

There’s a second, important reason to pursue quick resolution of border difficulties — this one related to facilitating lawful trade between the U.S. and our top trade partner, Mexico.

First things first: Stories of families at the border split apart with vulnerable adults and children enduring tragedy — rape, sexual servitude or forced involvement in the drug trade — abound. They have been of great concern to Cornyn, who includes border updates with the Texas news media on his frequent conference calls from Washington.

Cuellar, of Laredo, mostly seeks legal resolutions for the families, their day in court, which should hold some weight for Texans who revere the rule of law and fair play for everyone. We especially appreciate the bi-partisan effort by these two lawmakers, who sought immigration reform, unsuccessfully, five years ago.

Typically enough, the state Democratic Party lampooned Cornyn — not Cuellar, of course — as a toady for President Trump, as if seeking a humane resolution of border tragedies was a partisan effort. Alas, that’s the political world in which we live.

Even if Texans had no hearts — we know they do — their heads should tell them that border resolutions are crucial in order to support commerce over the border.

An analysis by The Perryman Group of Texas said delays at the border threaten to cripple commerce due to the logistical problems they create.

An analysis by the firm notes that trade volume between the two countries is high volume: 4.4 million trucks and 469,912 loaded railcars crossed Texas’ border with Mexico in 2018. Products and materials routinely cross the border as parts of supply chains. The two economies are integrated at many points, benefiting both countries.

We ought to remember this: Mexico is our ally and, despite current border disputes, remains our friend and neighbor.

Border chaos due to immigration issues serves neither U.S. nor Mexican interests. It generates instability and hastens both the illegal drug trade and human trafficking. Solving human and economic crises at the border ought to be front-burner business for every member of Congress. Cornyn and Cuellar are stepping forward; who will join them?