U.S. Sen. Pete
Domenici March 5 introduced the Border Infrastructure & Technology
Modernization Act (S.539), which would authorize $925 million for
the 197 U.S. border crossings with Mexico and Canada.
been more than 17 years since we launched a major effort to upgrade
border infrastructure, and that was focused on the Southwest. It
was before dramatic trade escalation with Mexico and Canada. It
was well before terrorists made us sensitive to the threat that
lax border security poses," Domenici, R-NM, said.
time to change that and move forward with a methodical and comprehensive
process of modernizing our land borders with Mexico and Canada.
This work will be costly, but necessary," he said. "We
know what must be done, and it is finally time that we do it."
from constructing facilities for cargo inspections, to installing
X-ray machines and security cameras, to even fixing leaking roofs
and plumbing. To address these needs, act authorizes $100 million
per year for five years to implement infrastructure and technology
$50 million would be used to create technology testing and demonstration
sites on the northern and southwestern borders. These sites will
give border agencies the opportunity to test, evaluate and refine
port-of-entry technologies and operational concepts, and train personnel
under realistic conditions, Domenici said.
The act also
provides for an annual Land Border Security Plan with port vulnerability
assessments, involving coordination between federal, state and local
entities involved at the borders, as well as the private sector.
Some other highlights:
- An additional $30 million
as well as additional staff to expand the Customs-Trade Partnership
Against Terrorism programs that will seek support from private
industry in security matters.
- An increase in the number
of inspectors and support staff in the Bureau of Customs and Border
Security of the Department of Homeland Security by an additional
200 each year for five years.
- The addition of 100 or
more special agents and support staff each year for five years
to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the investigative
arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
The bill is
cosponsored by Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, Jon Kyl, R-AZ, Dianne Feinstein,
D-CA, Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, John McCain, R-AZ, Conrad Burns, R-MT,
Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, and Patty Murray, D-WA. Rep. Jim Kolbe,
R-AZ, is expected to introduce a companion bill in the House of