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Santa Teresa, New Mexico

By Phyllis Eileen Banks

Last updated on Monday, December 30, 2002

Santa Teresa Port of Entry. Photo courtesy Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance
Santa Teresa Port of Entry. Picture courtesy Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance
Santa Teresa is a young community at the junction of New Mexico Highways 278 and 9. It is about four miles north of the Mexico border, practically adjacent to Sunland Park, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. It consists primarily of residences in a gated community, although there are three or four churches nearby.

The community evolved from the dream of a country club. According to Roadside History of New Mexico by Francis L. and Roberta B. Fugate, "In the early 1970s, professional golfer Lee Trevino was one of the principal backers in the design and construction of a golf course and country club known as Santa Teresa." It was originally planned with luxury homes and an airport for fly-in golfers. Later Trevino withdrew but growth continued.

Real estate developers added homes and condominiums that appealed to residents of El Paso who wanted to escape urban sprawl. Now a few miles from the residential area is also an industrial park of which the War Eagles Museum is a part. This area attraction is a must see, especially to those of "The Greatest Generation," as it is a trip back to World War II, including 40s music.

Now, adding to the importance of Santa Teresa, a border crossing Port of Entry to Mexico has been established. The Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance describes the Port of Entry as "a 67-acre site that offers quick and easy access to Mexico without the lengthy delays common at nearby El Paso's three bridges." A permanent facility is operated by the U. S. Customs Service. It has twelve inspection docks, no tolls, and large loads can be easily accommodated. The Santa Teresa Port of Entry offers connections to Puerto San Jeronimo, and access to Juarez and other places by way of the paved Casa Grandes Highway in Mexico.

In 1995, 42,000 vehicles arrived via this entry, increasing to 62,000 in 1996. The El Paso Customs District includes West Texas and New Mexico, and Santa Teresa Port of Entry is part of this district. Less than one mile east is a cattle crossing operated by the Chihuahua Cattle Growers, opened in 1992. It is one of the largest and most advanced cattle crossings along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. The 96-acre site has a facility capable of handling 30,000 head of cattle at one time.

The industrial growth in Santa Teresa can do nothing but build the economy. At present, it is an unincorporated town but that will no doubt change before long.

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