Supervisors Request Funding For Port Of Entry, Not Wall
By Mario Conde
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved letters of support for funding of the expansion of the Calexico West LPOE expansion project to increase border security.
The Board of Supervisors approved a series of letters at their regular meeting Tuesday in order to express the County’s support of funding for the Calexico West Land Port of Entry expansion and reconfiguration project as a more effective and economical manner to improve border security, as opposed to building another wall on the U.S.-Mexican border here in the Imperial County. In order to ensure that the project is completed without construction delays the funding for the second phase of the project must be appropriated in a supplemental funding package or a year-end budget deal for fiscal year 2017.
The President’s 2018 Budget requests $44.1 billion in net discretionary budget authority for Department of Homeland Security, a $2.8 billion or 6.8 percent increase from the 2017 annualized CR level. The budget would allocate $4.5 billion in additional funding for programs to strengthen the security of the Nation’s borders and enhance the integrity of its immigration system. The budget outline states that the increased investment in the Nation’s border security and immigration enforcement efforts would save Federal resources in the future.
“It is vital that he County continues to inform an advocate for the funding of the local port of entry project.” CEO Ralph Cordova said. The Board of Supervisors spoke about the border wall at their last meeting and decided to send letter to legislators asking for funding of the second phase and avoid the funding of the wall take away from the LPOE expansion.
President Donald Trump presented his first budget outline where he is requesting money for the border wall construction. It’s been reported that President Trump will submit a $30 billion supplemental spending request to begin work on building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The funding would be used to begin developing technologies and locations for the wall. In addition to this funding request, Trump is requesting and additional $2.6 billion for the ball in his Fiscal Year budget request.
The letter signed by Board Chairman Michael Kelley states that the funding for the POE is needed since the current facility is a 42-year old facility is outdated, undersized, and lacks modern inspection technologies necessary to detect concealed narcotics. The General Services Administration has also recognized the urgent need to expand and modernize the port. The project, which GSA has recommended be constructed in two phases, is currently underway.
“While a physical barrier may, to certain extent, discourage some migrants from entering the country illegally, those determined to cross will always find a way. As local elected officials who represent a border county, we believe that a border wall is the least effective way to secure the border.” Kelley stated in the letter.