NM lawmakers talk border security solutions
February 15, 2019 10:22 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - All five of New Mexico's federal lawmakers met with KOB to discuss ideas for border security.
Sen. Martin Heinrich says it starts with equipping the border patrol with what they need. Currently, the border patrol has 3000 vacancies and turn over is high especially in remote areas, like New Mexico's Bootheel.
"Staffing is a huge issue. We need to have highly qualified, highly trained folks along the border who can provide the most effective security on the border," Heinrich said. "That means we have to pay them as well. We have to have incentives for them working in very remote locations for example."
Sen. Tom Udall believes the border patrol needs more resources to do its job. He tells KOB that border patrol has asked for resources that haven't come yet.
"In areas where there aren't very good roads, and you have to travel over land. They are asking for small 4-wheel ATVs, they are asking for horses, they are asking for that kind of patrol mechanism," Udall said.
Rep. Ben Ray Luján represents northern New Mexico in the House. He believes ports of entry need better technology to detect the drug inflow.
"When we look at the number of narcotics coming into the U.S., for example, they are coming in through ports of entry," Luján said. "Heroin is in the 90s percentage range, methamphetamines, fentanyl, cocaine, it's low 80s to high 80s."
Rep. Deb Haaland represents central New Mexico in the House. She says that she recently went to the border recently and that a physical barrier does not make much sense.
"One of the border patrolmen candidly told us that if you build a 19-foot wall, they'll bring a 20-foot ladder," Haaland said. "I just feel like when you are spending money on things that don't help, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small represents southern New Mexico and wants more data before committing to more barriers.
"We need a strong, smart and fair approach when it comes to border security," Torres Small said. "So when it comes to smart investments, we need to look at what is most efficient and that means a mile by mile analysis."
Updated: February 15, 2019 10:22 PM
Created: February 15, 2019 03:58 PM
Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved