WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) urged Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Wednesday to extend the public comment period, which ended Wednesday, for the Trump administration’s proposal to build 46 miles of new border wall in southern New Mexico.
In a letter to CBP and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the senators said the process is wholly inadequate for stakeholders to thoroughly review and provide comment on a project of this magnitude and believe CBP should extend the comment period by 90 days. Udall and Heinrich adamantly oppose the border wall proposal.
“We write to express our deep opposition to the Administration’s proposal to construct 46 miles of new border wall in a remote area of New Mexico’s southern border. It is clear that the proposed replacement of the existing vehicle barriers with steel bollard wall will have a significant negative impact on the state of New Mexico and represent an unlawful use and waste of funds Congress allocated to the Defense Department for other important purposes. We also find the 30-day comment period wholly inadequate for New Mexican stakeholders to thoroughly review and provide comment on a project of this magnitude, and believe U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should extend the comment period 90 days,”the senators wrote.
Udall and Heinrich urged CBP to reevaluate its proposal and consider other options for effective border security that take into account the fragility of the New Mexican border environment and its importance to our ecological and economic future.
“The Trump Administration is violating appropriations law in their attempt to raid approximately $1 billion in funding that Congress provided for military personnel and other national security purposes. This funding is to be diverted to construction of border wall that Congress debated at length, during a government shutdown, and ultimately decided not to fund. This unlawful act is being challenged by multiple parties in the courts and DHS should not take any further action to commence construction until the judicial system has resolved this issue,” wrote the senators.
Following the Trump administration’s failed attempt to force a deal for a new border wall by shutting down the government, Udall and Heinrich introduced three bills to protect the private property rights of residents and safeguard important habitat for wildlife, tribal interests, and religious freedoms in New Mexico’s border region. Udall and Heinrich also introduced the RAIDER Act of 2019 to prevent the president from bypassing Congress to raid funding from military construction and disaster response funds for land acquisition or construction of a new wall.
The full text of the letter can be found below and HERE.