Support for our border communities

By:  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

As the son of an immigrant, I know firsthand the promise that America represents for those seeking to build a better life. For our country’s entire history, immigrants have overcome incredible adversity and discrimination to play a vital role in this nation’s success. The way we treat immigrants, refugees, and those seeking asylum shows the world what America stands for. But for decades, even before President Trump spread fear and sowed chaos at our border, our nation’s broken immigration system has failed to live up to our true American values.

That’s why I am pleased that President Joe Biden has made fixing our immigration system a top priority. On his first day in office, he took action to strengthen protections for Dreamers, reverse President Trump’s Muslim Ban, and stop construction of the wasteful and ineffective border wall. The president’s proposed U.S. Citizenship Act would provide a fair and earned pathway to U.S. citizenship for Dreamers and millions of undocumented people who contribute so much to our local economies and communities.  

We need to prioritize smart federal infrastructure investments for our vibrant border communities, strengthen prosecutions for smuggling and human trafficking, and address the root causes of mass migration from Central America’s northern triangle. Asylum seekers at our nation’s southern border need to be processed according to our laws and the federal government must be prepared, but we also need to support the incredible community-driven efforts to provide assistance. 

I deeply appreciate the many ways that New Mexicans responded to the migrant humanitarian crises in recent years with both kindness and compassion. But local communities like Las Cruces, Columbus, and Deming should never have to shoulder burdens created by new and unbudgeted costs when federal agencies do not provide sufficient shelter and humanitarian aid. That’s why I was proud to introduce legislation with Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) to ensure there will be reimbursement funds for border communities and non-profits that step up to the plate and deliver critical assistance in a time of need. 

We must also provide border agents on the frontlines with the medical resources they need to prevent unnecessary tragedies. I’ve worked with key stakeholders to find common ground on pragmatic, responsible solutions to address the health and safety challenges along remote stretches of our southern border region. I am reintroducing the Remote, Emergency, Medical, Online Training, Telehealth, and EMT (REMOTE) Act to require EMT and paramedic training for border agents in the field, ensure 24-hour voice access to a physician or health care provider with pediatric training, and ensure all remote stations have emergency medical supplies.

There is still so much more work ahead to help all of our communities heal from the COVID-19 pandemic, to help families and small businesses recover, and to help rebuild our economy. I am committed to supporting President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to stand up an effective national vaccine distribution plan, secure the resources that schools and small businesses need to safely reopen, and provide immediate relief to families and children bearing the brunt of this crisis.

Please don't hesitate to contact my office if I can be of assistance. You can call my Las Cruces office at (575) 523-6561 or visit my website at Heinrich.Senate.Gov. It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate.