WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Xochitl Torres Small celebrated the official opening of a modernized and expanded Columbus Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico. The completed project provides badly-needed improvements and expands the Columbus Port of Entry to facilitate trade, economic growth in border communities and across New Mexico, and binational cooperation between the United States and Mexico.
In 2014, as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, Udall secured an initial $7.4 million to design the expansion, and also brought then-GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini to Luna County for a site visit and stakeholder meeting to make the case for an expanded port. In 2015, Udall and Heinrich were instrumental in securing $85.6 million for construction of the expanded and modernized port of entry, to safely and efficiently accommodate increases in car, commercial and pedestrian traffic -- improving security, encouraging trade and creating jobs in Southern New Mexico.
“Today is a great day for southern New Mexico, for our border communities, and for our entire state,” Udall said. “This new and improved Columbus Port of Entry will help take our growing border economies to new heights. The modernized port will promote trade, good jobs, and spark economic growth for all of New Mexico – all while strengthening the deep, binational ties that bind so many New Mexicans to our neighbors in Mexico. I congratulate the Village of Columbus and Luna County, and the many dedicated individuals and organizations that were involved in seeing this project through and getting it over the finish line. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am so proud to have successfully fought so secure the resources needed to expand and modernize the Columbus Port of Entry – improvements that were deeply necessary given the stresses placed on an out-of-date port by an explosion in economic and personal traffic. Columbus is a key gateway – for tourists, students, livestock, manufactured goods, and farm products headed for New Mexico processing plants – and this new port will keep the exchange flowing and our economy growing.”
“Major improvements at our ports of entry and border infrastructure don’t just help grow our state’s trade economy, they also make our border more secure,” said Heinrich. “I was proud to help secure the resources to make the Columbus Port of Entry project a reality. We must remain focused on building on our recent successes and ensuring New Mexico’s vibrant border communities and growing ports of entry have the resources they need to thrive.”
“The ‘border’ is often mischaracterized, and the role of Ports of Entry are often overlooked. However, New Mexico’s livelihood is tied with its ability to freely trade with Mexico, with over $1.4 billion in state goods destined for Mexico in 2018 alone. For our ranchers, farmers, and commercial businesses, ports of entry, like the newly dedicated facility at Columbus, are a gateway to prosperity and improved economic conditions for their families and surrounding community. Beyond trade, well-equipped and fully resourced ports of entry help keep our communities safe by detecting dangerous activity before it reaches the interior of the country. Today’s dedication ceremony should serve as a reminder to us all that federally investing in modern technology at our ports of entry is a win-win situation for New Mexico’s safety, business interests and vibrancy,” Torres Small said.