/ Modified aug 5, 2015 4:52 p.m.

Rothschild Offers Help Hiring Customs Officers for Border

Tucson mayor lobbied federal officials last week for the city, offered help to one department

Rothschild DC update 080515 spotlight
Andrea Kelly, AZPM


Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild spent last week lobbying for the city's interest in Washington, D.C., and while he was there, he offered help to one federal agency.

Lobbying trips like that tend to include a list of requests. Rothschild's on this trip:

  • Keep Davis-Monthan Air Force Base open.
  • Fund the federal transportation department
  • Keep the Cherrybell Post Office open

Rothschild made those requests, but in a rarer move, also offered to help Customs and Border Protection hire officers for the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales.

Rothschild stressed the need to fully staff the port, he said. The agency officials told him they want the same thing

"They’re really having difficulties filling these positions, so we talked to them and we’ve agreed that we will coordinate with their local offices here to do a job fair to help them fill positions at Mariposa, which will be a regional job fair," he said.

Full staffing would mean trucks full of goods would travel through Tucson, instead of other ports along the border.

“They’re going to go where they can get through quickest, and that’s why those 24 lanes were so important but they lose some of their effectiveness," he said. "If you come there and you’re still waiting two or three hours because there’s nobody there to process you.”

He said fully staffing the Mariposa port of entry is a national priority because what comes through the border goes to Los Angeles and other big cities.

The Tucson mayor also talked with Sen. John McCain and members of the Arizona House delegation about othercurrent political issues.

One of his frustrations is the stalled funding for transportation projects. Rothschild stressed to transportation officials, and politicians, that a long-term funding plan must be approved, he said.

“Last week the house passed a three-month bridge, and you just can’t plan anything for that," he said. That’s because it takes years to plan road projects, and those plans are based on how much funding the city expects to have, including federal funding.

Rothschild also visited several federal departments to give updates on Tucson’s progress as one of 25 cities in the country trying to end homelessness among military veterans this year.

Tucson is on track to meet that goal, he said.

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