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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Visits Southern Border, Highlights Need for Increased Border Security and Comprehensive Immigration Reform

McALLEN, Texas – Over the weekend, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, visited the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to meet with immigration and border officials and to see challenges at the Southwest Border firsthand. She met with the brave men and women tasked with securing our country and discussed solutions to both secure the border and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

“I visited the Southern border because our immigration system has been broken for decades, and I am determined to be part of the solution. I saw firsthand the need to further invest in border security to protect our communities from legitimate threats like cartels and drug smuggling. While Wisconsin is not a border state, we still feel the impact of harmful drugs like fentanyl coming into our communities. At the same time, we also need to fix our broken immigration system and create a clear path to citizenship for immigrants already here – especially our Dreamers,” said Senator Baldwin. “My visit will help inform my work going forward with Democrats and Republicans in Washington to provide necessary resources at the border and to find the common ground necessary to pass comprehensive immigration reform. It is long overdue that Congress act to address this broken system in order to help address a workforce shortage that many Wisconsin businesses are grappling with, support our immigration and border officials, offer migrants in real danger safe harbor in humane conditions, and help identify the crises in Central and South America that are driving migrants to our Southern Border.”

Senator Baldwin visited members of Joint Task Force North in McAllen, Texas to learn about their support to our federal law enforcement agencies and their efforts to identify and stop transnational criminal organizations’ activities. She then met with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regarding its mission at our Southern Border.

In December, Senator Baldwin supported the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which provided just over $18 billion in discretionary funding for CBP that will help hire 125 additional CBP officers and 300 additional Border Patrol agents. The legislation also included $70 million to strengthen non-intrusive inspection systems that will significantly improve the scanning of vehicles and cargo entering the U.S. using artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to detect and seize harmful items. Senator Baldwin discussed how these investments in personnel and technology will help CBP secure the border and prevent weapons and illicit drugs from entering the United States.

Senator Baldwin also took an aerial tour of the region to see the existing border infrastructure and security measures. Senator Baldwin then visited with Army National Guard members from Wisconsin who are stationed in the Rio Grande Valley with the CBP to thank them for their service.

Senator Baldwin visited the Central Processing Facility in McAllen and received a briefing from both the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to understand the arrivals and departures process and learn more about the migrants who are fleeing their country of origin. She also visited a Homeland Security Investigations Field Office in Texas to better understand how Department of Homeland Security officials collaborate with other agencies to secure the Southern border and address national security threats.

Senator Baldwin then travelled to Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit Sandia National Laboratory, one of three research and development laboratories of the United States Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, where she met with scientists and officials working on technology vital to our national and energy security, including nuclear energy, nuclear weapons, and nuclear weapons deterrence.