Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today hailed the July 29 House vote to approve the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Border Security Act, which includes funding for 500 new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at ports of entry. Grijalva requested $300 million “to upgrade technology and infrastructure and ensure adequate CBP staffing across our southwestern border” in a June 10 letter to President Obama.
“As I wrote to the president, it is well past time to provide our ports of entry with the staff, technology and resources they need,” Grijalva said after the vote. “Ports across Arizona report staffing deficits of up to 100 full time employees. They cannot fully do their jobs under these conditions, and I was proud to vote for this bill to start remedying the situation as soon as possible.”
As the June letter stated, “It is alarming that not one new CBP officer was assigned to a port in Arizona out of the 400 officers allocated this year. The decision not to assign any new CBP officers to Arizona – even at the heavily trafficked crossings in Nogales, San Luis and Douglas – is exacerbating the serious legal and security issues we face. We must fully fund the ongoing upgrades at the Douglas and San Luis crossings if we intend to seriously tackle border security and customs enforcement.”
CBP prevents terrorists and other unwelcome individuals from entering the country and facilitates the cross-border movement of millions of travelers and goods each year. Along the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico, CBP manages 42 land ports of entry in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico.
Grijalva said the Senate, which stripped the border funding from a previous bill to pay for the war in Afghanistan, should “act without delay to approve this measure on its own merits. Effective border security is not just a border-state issue, and I hope lawmakers from all over the country understand the necessity of upgrading the manpower and infrastructure that keeps goods coming in and dangerous criminals out of the United States. There is no policy reason to vote against the bill, and I hope the Senate sees that.”