NOGALES, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - It's a huge influence on our economy and Thursday it got a new chief.
Efrain Solis took over as the new director for the Port of Nogales. He replaced Guadalupe Ramirez in a change of command ceremony Thursday morning.
The Nogales Port of Entry is the busiest in Arizona. It's important to not just our local economy but the economy of the state, and now there's a new official in charge of making it run smoothly.
Around $27 to 30 billion dollars a year, that's the value Customs and Border Protection says crosses from Mexico into Arizona at the Nogales Port of Entry.
That's about 330 thousand cargo trucks a year and about eleven million people.
Now Efrain Solis is in charge of helping that legal traffic cross smoothly and stopping any illegal traffic.
He says, “I grew up in a border community. I understand the economics that each side, on the Mexican side and the U.S. side depend on that. So I'm well versed on that, and I have to make sure we talk to the local officials because they depend on this."
Nogales Mayor John Doyle says it looks like the city and the new port director will have a close, cooperative relationship.
He says, “They do a great job expediting and speeding up the local traffic and also the commerce and trade."
Director Solis says he'll work to increase staff for the Mariposa Port of Entry. A major expansion added plenty of capacity, but CBP has not been able to hire enough people to use the new lanes to full potential.
He says he'll also work to reduce lines at the older DeConcini Port of Entry in downtown Nogales.