Border Groups React to Omnibus Spending Bill

For the first time in 20 years, border communities
will not see an increase of Border Patrol agents.
Alliance San Diego
Southern Border: Organizations representing communities along the US-Mexico border are pleased with Congress’ new spending bill that focuses resources on Customs agents rather than Border Patrol agents.

“For the first time in decades Congress has listened to the demands of residents along the U.S. Mexico border. Our border crossings are among the nation’s critical lifelines for economic prosperity, and lawmakers’ decision to direct more resources to this region is encouraging. For too long Washington has focused funds on militarizing our borders, and at a great cost to border communities’ livelihoods and human rights, ” said Christian Ramírez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition.

The spending bill bolsters the nation’s ports of entry by providing additional staffing to the congested land ports, including an increase of 3,430 additional customs inspectors. For the first time, this increase in resources is not coupled with an increase in Border Patrol agents. For over a decade, border residents have had to endure excessively long waits along the Southern Border, costing the local economy millions of dollars and eroding the region’s quality of life.

Business leaders, local law enforcement and elected officials have joined civil rights organizations in the fight for fair and just immigration reform legislation that protects the rights and livelihoods of border residents, and have pushed back against the border militarization policies that have become standard practice. These groups have continued to urge Congress and the Administration to invest in the revitalization of the Southern Border by modernizing ports of entry and prioritizing the hiring of customs inspectors over Border Patrol agents.

“We are encouraged by Congress’ decision to focus taxpayer money on infrastructure and staffing at the Southern Border Ports of Entry. Decades of a failed enforcement only approach to border policy has resulted in widespread abuse and failed oversight and accountability mechanisms.  We hope this is the beginning of a new direction for border policy,” continued Ramírez.