Santa Teresa, N.M., is a tiny town of about 5,000 people. There’s not much housing around, the most prominent retailers are the Family Dollar and the Dollar General, and if you’re looking for food options, the best might well be the fried chicken counter inside a gas station.
But behind the scenes, what some might mistake as a sleepy border town might well be ground zero in a push to bypass Texas altogether when it comes to getting goods into the U.S. – and as the president of Mexico sees it, a way to get around Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, too.
Shelly Hagan, one of two reporters covering this story for Bloomberg, joined the Texas Standard to share more.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: Santa Teresa is a relatively quiet border town, as you describe it. But you report it could be on its way to becoming a major point of entry to the U.S. as an alternative to Texas. Who’s behind this and why?
Shelly Hagan: Well, certainly New Mexico has really been pushing this for a while in the past few years. They really tried to make international trade a priority in economic development and economic growth for the state. And, of course, they have had to compete with the border town of El Paso in Texas, which is only about 30 miles away from Santa Teresa. There’s already a large amount of commercial traffic and trade that goes through the Texas southern border. But New Mexico sees that as a way to also kind of take advantage of what may be very congested ports in Texas. And perhaps they can try and garner some of that trade and bring in trade from their ports, which is less busy and perhaps provide even cheaper real estate options for companies looking to have warehouses and distribution areas.