WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) welcomed U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) announcement today to enter into a public-private partnership with Dell, Inc. to fund additional hours of operation for southbound commercial traffic at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry (POE).
After Senator Heinrich's office made Dell, Inc. aware of CBP's new Reimbursable Services Program and encouraged them to apply, the company submitted its application to fund four additional hours of commercial operation, Monday through Friday, at Santa Teresa POE for one year. In June 2015, Senator Heinrich discussed Dell's application with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, advocating for its approval.
The Reimbursable Services Program allows the CBP Commissioner to enter into partnerships with private sector and government entities to provide new or expanded services on a reimbursable basis. According to CBP, this authority enables them to support additional requests for services, while managing rising volumes of travel and trade that are critical to our economy.
"This announcement is welcome news and comes on the heels of a Commerce Department study that found New Mexico is the fastest-growing state in the country for jobs related to international exports. Our state's border region is a bright spot in our economy. By collaborating with strong private sector partners, such as Dell, we can capitalize on that momentum and increase trade, create new jobs, and diversify New Mexico's economy," said Sen. Heinrich, who has long supported the expansion in commercial hours at the POE. "I'm proud to have championed Dell's request to fund additional hours for all commercial vehicles at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry and will continue to work with Commissioner Kerlikowske to boost and facilitate interstate commerce in New Mexico, ensure our ports are operating at full capacity, and keep our nation safe and secure."
This public-private partnership will help advance the safe and efficient development of the border region. Increased capacity will help grow the New Mexico Borderplex, provide a viable alternative to the often long wait times for commercial traffic crossing to Mexico via El Paso, Texas, and strengthen national security. It is also anticipated that other regional stakeholders will take advantage of the extended hours.
Last month, Senators Heinrich and Tom Udall sent a letter underscoring their support for Dell's application to CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske and invited him to tour the Santa Teresa POE and border industrial zone in southern New Mexico to see firsthand how federal and private investments in the region have improved interstate commerce and bolstered the local economy.
In May, Senator Heinrich toured the Santa Teresa industrial corridor and met with officials from the Border Industrial Association and Santa Teresa POE. The visit also included a tour of the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal at Santa Teresa to discuss the $400-million facility's economic impact on the region. The facility, which became operational last April, is a 2,200-acre rail site located near the Santa Teresa POE. It includes one of Union Pacific's largest fueling facilities and the railroad's largest intermodal freight terminal along the U.S.-Mexico border.