After a packed two-day schedule, members of an advisory board for border issues left Tucson with a lot of ideas for economic development and the role the Mexican Consulate can play in a community.

“I was surprised to learn about all the efforts going on to promote border economic development in the area and impressed to see what an important role the consulate plays in providing services to the community and promoting binational relations,” said Angela Sambrano, a participant from Los Angeles.

Tucson was home to the annual meeting for the border affairs committee of the advisory council of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, where participants learned about everything from economic development to border deaths and attended an Operation Streamline hearing in the federal courthouse.

“We wanted to provide them with enough information about the realities lived in the border because they make proposals directly to the Mexican government about the needs of the community,” said Ricardo Pineda Albarrán, head of the Mexican Consulate in Tucson.

Attendees leave with a better understanding that “every border region is different, but at the same time there are certain characteristics that connect us all,” said Ricardo Castro Salazar, coordinator of the border affairs committee and a faculty member at Pima Community College’s Northwest Campus.

The 10 border states — four in the United States and six in Mexico — have about 13 million residents and together form the world’s fourth-largest economy.

The council analyzes the problems, challenges and opportunities that Mexican communities abroad face and proposes actions to the Mexican government. There are 111 members divided into committees.

“We are U.S. citizens with a transnational vision to improve the quality of life of Mexicans in Mexico and those living abroad,” Sambrano said.

Contact reporter Perla Trevizo at or 573-4210. On Twitter: @Perla_Trevizo