BISBEE — A visit to the Douglas Port of Entry garnered the support of U.S. Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick who recognized the need for a proposed commercial port after a recent visit.
Kirkpatrick and the members of the House Appropriations Committee approved the 2020 Homeland Security $63.8 billion spending bill last week. Of that, $1.181 billion is slated for Land Ports of Entry across the country, according to the bill.
Of that, $848 million will go to basic and major repairs for ports around the country, with a portion allocated for proposed commercial Douglas Port of Entry, stated a press release from Kirkpatrick’s office.
The Douglas port was rated seventh on the General Services Administration (GSA) priority list, but she helped boost it to fifth.
“Modernizing our Douglas Port of Entry is one of my top priorities,” Kirkpatrick noted. “I am proud to share that our southern port has jumped on the priority list for funding and I look forward to continue working on this committee until we see a new port complete.”
County Board of Supervisors member Ann English, who represents Douglas and the surrounding area, was pleased with the news.
“Representative Kirkpatrick came to the Douglas area with the express purpose of determining the need for a two port solution," she said. "She recognized how it would be a catalyst for our economy, provide national security, and enhance trade with Mexico. She left here committed to promoting this solution on the Appropriations and other committees.
“She is doing her part and we’re going to do our part in putting together plans and partners for the necessary infrastructure with greater urgency since we have achieved a No. 5 status. This project is becoming more doable every day.”
The bill also directs the GSA to research multiple issues that concern the southern border and ports of entry to include migrant protection protocols, immigration judge numbers, border infrastructure protocol and to process asylum seekers at the Douglas port.
Kirkpatrick continued, “More than most districts around the country, this funding bill impacts our district significantly. I am proud to have a voice at the table and push to secure adequate funding for our border and border personnel."
"This bill provides strong investments in new technology and topnotch screening equipment so our border patrol officials have the necessary resources to do their job efficiently. It reflects our commitment to national security while meeting the humanitarian needs of migrants.”
The bill includes $20 million for port technology, $56 million for facility repairs and maintenance and $176 million for computed tomography screening equipment.