EL PASO, Texas – A coalition of Texas border mayors, county judges and economic development associations today threw its support behind bi-partisan legislation to modernize the nation’s land ports of entry and reform U.S. immigration policies.
Specifically, the Land Ports of Entry Modernization Trust Fund Act authored by U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, and Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, would establish a trust fund to construct new land ports of entry, expand and improve existing ports, procure technology for inspecting and processing traffic passing through the ports, and hire U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff.
The proposal would also establish a Land Port of Entry Modernization Oversight Board to advise the Department of Homeland Security on how to use the trust fund and to review the trust fund’s expenditures. The trust fund money would derive from customs and immigration user fees and surcharges that would theoretically be backfilled by annual appropriations.
“The Land Port of Entry Modernization Trust Fund Act is a crucial step towards ensuring secure and efficient border management,” said El Paso County Commissioner and Texas Border Coalition (TBC) Chairman David Stout. “Modernizing our port of entry infrastructure, utilizing advanced screening technologies, and focusing resources on genuine security risks allows us to strike a balance between openness and vigilance, while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”
The Dignity Act of 2023 sponsored by U.S. Reps. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, and Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., would fund border infrastructure and technology without funding a border wall, increase U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, codify the new Shelter and Services Program for local governments and non-governmental organizations to assist arriving migrants, provide $10 billion over five years to upgrade ports of entry, legalize 11 million undocumented persons create a renewable legal statue for undocumented agricultural workers, provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, reform asylum to emphasize processing in Latin America, phase in E-verify requirements for businesses, mandate visa overstay reporting, and reform temporary worker programs.
“We must embrace inclusive immigration policies that uphold our values and harnesses the potential of individuals seeking a better life,” Stout said. “By providing a fair, efficient and comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system, we can build stronger communities, foster economic growth, and reinforce the ideals that make our nation great.”
# # #
About the Texas Border Coalition (TBC)
The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) is a collective voice of border mayors, county judges, economic development commissions focused on issues that affect 2.5 million people along the Texas-Mexico border region and economically disadvantaged counties from El Paso to Brownsville. TBC is working closely with the state and federal government to educate, advocate, and secure funding for transportation, immigration and border security, workforce development, economic development and health care. For more information, visit the coalition website at www.texasbordercoalition.org. Follow TBC on Facebook and Twitter [#TXBorderCoalition] to keep up to date on all of the latest news about the coalition and its activities.