Herrell calls for improvements at New Mexico port of entry, money for border wall construction

Border Report

A border wall construction site near a commercial port of entry at in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. (Juan Muñoz/KTSM 9 News)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A New Mexico congresswoman is pushing funding for one of the fastest-growing cargo border crossings in the nation. U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-New Mexico, also wants a House committee to kick-start border wall construction that President Biden axed in January.

“It is urgent to include adequate funding for the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. Constituents and stakeholders in my district are seeing unprecedented growth with the rapid expansion of the Santa Teresa Industrial Borderplex and surrounding areas,” Herrell said on Wednesday.

Located a few miles west of the Texas state line, Santa Teresa has become the second busiest international cargo facility in the El Paso Sector, facilitating $24 billion in trade annually and sustaining 5,849 direct jobs, Herrell said. She is asking members of the House Committee on Appropriations for money to modernize the port.

“It is vital to include funding to modernize, expand and upgrade the port to adapt to increasing demands so future generations of New Mexicans can live and work in these (communities),” Herrell said in a letter to committee leaders. “Allocating additional infrastructure and manpower to Santa Teresa [,,,] will ensure that New Mexico and the U.S. are ready to seize this opportunity for economic development now and into the future.”s.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-New Mexico

According to the Border Industrial Association, exports from Southern New Mexico to Mexico have grown 412 percent since 2012. That’s the highest percentile growth in commercial activity of any port along the southern border.

The BIA has been promoting funding for a port expansion feasibility study that would become the cornerstone of any future improvements. The port recently made adjustments to its cargo inspection area to accommodate 100-foot-plus wind turbine blades manufactured in Juarez, Mexico and shipped to wind farms all over the United States.

As far as border wall funding, Herrell wrote to committee members that “securing our southern border by means of physical border infrastructure, such as completing construction of the border wall, is vital for our national security.”

While making no specific monetary requests in her letter, she railed against the Biden administration for “facilitating a border crisis” and failing to enforce immigration laws.

She expressed hope that the committee allocates funds for border wall construction.

She referenced Department of Homeland Security figures from last September showing a 233 percent increase in illegal immigration over September 2020. The numbers dipped in October, but the southern border remains on pace for surpassing 2 million “encounters” with unauthorized migrants in the calendar year 2021.

“Effective physical infrastructure works to secure our southern border and the results speak for themselves. Illegal drug, border crossings and human smuggling activities decreased in areas where barriers are deployed,” Herrell wrote. “We cannot continue to facilitate, reward or pay for illegal immigrants who broke the law by bypassing ports of entry.”  

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