WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) have introduced an amendment to S.744, the senate immigration reform bill, that will help increase bilateral trade and improve ports of entry along the Southwest United States border. The amendment would extend the commercial and private hours of operation for vehicles at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry from 12 hours to 24, help facilitate trade, and enhance national security along the port of entry.
"This amendment will help ensure our border communities thrive and benefit fully from their unique bi-national culture and economy while strengthening our national security," said Sen. Heinrich. "Extending the hours of operation at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry will lead to more efficient trade between the United States and Mexico, grow our economy, create new jobs, and invest in border security efforts at our nation's ports."
"Investing in the Santa Teresa Port of Entry is key to creating jobs and economic opportunities along the border," said Sen. Udall, who has fought to expand trade on the U.S.-Mexico border and capacity at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. Udall supported Recovery Act funds that made it possible to increase the number of lanes and expand the commercial inspection at the crossing. "Border trade and travel is an essential part of southern New Mexico's economy. This amendment will also strengthen border security by helping the Port manage growth, improve efficiency and increase safety along the border crossing."
Heinrich and Udall's amendment seeks to extend the hours of operation at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry, which would maximize the job-creating impact of the recently completed infrastructure expansion at the port. Extending the hours would also enable traffic that currently crosses in El Paso, Texas, to travel through New Mexico, reducing the heavy congestion in El Paso and the strain on Customs and Border Protection in the region.
Last month, Senators Heinrich and Udall sent a letter requesting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to extend hours of operation at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry to 24 hours.