UTEP graduate named first Latina to lead International Boundary and Water Commission

Border Report Tour

Biden nominates first-generation Latina college graduate to head federal agency that enforces boundary treaties, water disputes

A monument is placed on top of the Amistad Reservoir near the border town of Del Rio, Texas, along the border of the United States and Mexico 21 April 2006. The reservoir, that regulates the flow of the Rio Grande for downstream users, was built in 1969 in collaboration with the Mexican government and is operated by the International Boundary and Water Commission. It was named using the Spanish word for “friendship” in honor of the cooperation and goowill exhibited by both countries in the project. The immigration bill proposed to the Senate that will tighten the border and open a way to illegal immigrant to citizenship is gridlocked as lawmakers failed to agree on a procedure for voting on ammendments sought by Republicans opposed to the bill. The number of illegal immigrants in the United States has grown to as many as 12 million people and they now account for about one in every twenty workers following a recent report by the Pew Hispanic Institute. Efforts to curb illegal immigration have not slowed its pace with an estimate 850,000 crossings last year. (HECTOR MATA/AFP via Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – President Joe Biden has appointed Maria-Elena Giner to serve as the United States Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Twelve House members had sent a letter to the White House endorsing the nomination of Giner for commissioner of the IBWC, which includes sections in the U.S. and Mexico, enforces boundary and water treaties between the two countries and deals with sanitation on rivers, water quality and flood controls.

Giner becomes the second woman and first Latina to head the IBWC, according to a Monday news release announcing the appointment.

“I am truly humbled and honored to once again serve the residents of the U.S.-Mexico border
region. I would like to thank all of the local governments and organizations and state agencies that
communicated their support. With the assistance of staff, I look forward to advancing the mission of the
IBWC to improve the quality of life for communities on both sides of the border,” Giner said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, one of the House members signing the letter, said Giner is a first-generation college graduate and the daughter of an immigrant.

“Her experience of over 30 years working in public and private sector has given her depth insight into the technical, environmental, financial and public processes important for the development of sustainable infrastructure,” the letter from the border Democrats says.

Giner was appointed general manager of the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission in 2010, is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, Loyola Marymount University and UT Austin. Her work and that of her BECC staff led to $9 billion in environmental infrastructure projects for 100 communities, many of those in coordination with the IBWC, the House member’s letter said.

“During her tenure, she focused on a progressive agenda and addressed binational cooperation on water, energy and climate change,” the White House said on Aug. 20 in announcing her nomination by President Biden.

Giner will assume her duties at the Commission in September.

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