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Wednesday, October 5th, 2022

Bill addresses southern border cartel tunnels

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Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) has introduced a measure she said is designed to combat cross-border tunnel trafficking operations across the nation’s southern border.

The DHS Illicit Border Tunnel Defense Act has a companion measure introduced by Rep.Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in the House in February.

“Cartels have long exploited underground tunnels to smuggle drugs into the U.S., posing a direct threat to our national security,” McSally said. “In fact, the Department of Homeland Security recently discovered the most sophisticated cross-border tunnel ever built in U.S. history, which ran from a neighborhood in Mexico to San Luis, Arizona. This dangerous practice must be stopped. Congresswoman Lesko has done a terrific job leading this in the House and I am proud to work with her on introducing this bill in the Senate.”

Features of McSally’s legislation include authorizing $1 million for each of fiscal years 2021 and 2022 for Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to carry out remediation of illicit cross-border tunnels; directing the CBP Commissioner to develop a strategic plan to include risk-based criteria for tunnel operations; innovative technologies to limit the impact on local communities; processes for tunnel location information sharing; tunnel indicators to dispense to the field; and a resource assessment of technology, personnel, and training needed for tunnel operations.

“It is a privilege to once again work together with Sen. McSally to benefit Arizona and the nation,” Lesko said. “Martha is introducing the Senate companion to this important legislation, and I applaud her for her continued leadership on border security. Illicit border tunnels are a serious threat to our nation’s security and must be addressed to stop the flood of illegal drugs across our southern border.”