Abbott says securing border shouldn't harm trade

Governor tours border with U.S. Homeland Security secretary


WESLACO, Texas (AP) – Gov. Greg Abbott is suggesting that Texas and the Trump administration need to secure the U.S.-Mexico border without slowing trade.

Abbott visited the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday with new U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and said: "We want to achieve safety and security, but we also want to promote economic development."

Abbott previously applauded President Donald Trump's proposed border wall. But he noted with Kelly that Mexico is Texas' largest trading partner, saying officials must "ensure we are able to continue that very effective trade."

The governor has previously said that "we don't want to see a wall" through the Big Bend region. Texas shares more than 1,200 miles with Mexico and spends more than $800 million on border security.

Kelly said that while Washington thinks it knows the border, the only opinion that counts "are from the people that work this border," meaning federal and state security officials.

Abbott and Kelly held a security briefing, then toured the border from Huey helicopters.