Border security package includes $191 million for Calexico port of entry

  • 15 hrs ago

CALEXICO — County officials expressed approval Friday of a $191 million federal allocation for the Calexico West Land Port of Entry reconfiguration and expansion project.

The funding, which was part of a bipartisan border security agreement (H.J. Res. 31) President Donald Trump signed Friday that includes a $1.7 billion dollar increase in appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security.

The county noted more than 25,000 pedestrians and motorists travel through the west port of entry daily from Mexico to work, shop, and conduct business in Imperial County.

Renovations to the port of entry will include an expanded pedestrian processing facility, a new administrative office and additional north and southbound inspection lanes.

These improvements will assist in alleviating vehicular and pedestrian congestion and wait times in the downtown Calexico area.

“I am excited that we are in line to receive these much needed funds toward the project,” said District 1 Supervisor Jesus Eduardo Escobar. “However, with a balance remaining for total completion, I am concerned about how the funds will be allocated within the project scope. The Calexico LPOE will remain a priority for Imperial County and I would encourage all valley cities and elected officials to continue advocating until this project is completed.”

Although the allocation approved today will not pay for the entire cost of the project, the county said the board is encouraged by the continued support from federal officials, especially Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris and Congressman Juan Vargas, and are committed to securing the remaining estimated expense of $85 million for Fiscal Year 2020.

“This funding brings us one step closer to completing the Calexico LPOE project,” said Vargas. “When we invest in our border infrastructure, we are making long-term investments that will increase jobs, strengthen our national security, and stimulate our regional and national economies.”

Mexico is California’s top trading partner and improving the Calexico West LPOE is an essential part of enhancing California’s economy, Vargas said. He cited statistics that cross-border trade between California and Mexico, both imports and exports, was valued at more than $190 billion in 2011. Furthermore, according to a 2007 study by the Imperial Valley Association of Governments, California businesses lost an estimated $436 million and 5,639 jobs directly attributable to long border-crossing wait times.

“We have seen great progress in the construction of the Calexico West Land Port of Entry,” Vargas said. “I am committed to working with our local leaders and my colleagues in Congress to build on this momentum and ensure the funding needed to complete this project is included in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.”