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Proposed Sunland Park international crossing could displace hundreds

By: Bill Melugin

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico Sunland Park officials weighed the pros and cons of a proposed non-commercial international crossing at a workshop Tuesday night.

The citys border crossing manager, Roberto Diaz De Leon, spent the night trying to convince the Sunland Park City Council why the crossing would be a good idea.

Diaz De Leon went as far as saying the project would essentially erase unemployment in the area, and that it would be worth relocating people from their homes to satisfy retailers who would be interested in moving to Sunland Park.

He said he has already spoken to a major retailer who would be interested in setting up shop in the area of the proposed project, promising between 300-500 jobs and up to $4 million in sales tax revenue.

Diaz De Leon said the crossing would give Sunland Park residents a direct shot to downtown Juarez, and would decrease wait times at other crossings throughout the Borderland.

"We are building not so much a crossing but a relief point for a regional problem, the wait times are a problem, he said.
He also pointed out that 200-300 homes could be in the way of the project, and that if those people had to be relocated, its a definite option, telling the city council, This is going to make a big splash, some people cant handle a big splash," when concerns about public approval were brought forward.
Comments like that didnt sit well with Sunland Park council member and Mayor Pro Tem Sergio Carillo, who said forcing his constituents out of their homes isnt worth any benefits the project would bring.
"That's one thing that I really disagree with, he said.  It's something I feel the residents shouldn't have to pay for in the sense of being relocated, it's something I would really fight against.
If the project moves forward, it is estimated to have 16,000 cars driving on it per day.

Traffic and environmental studies are yet to be performed, and the Sunland Park council will hold a special meeting to discuss it further in two weeks.