Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and Chairman Thompson Ask CBP to Remove Barbed Wire Barriers at El Paso POEs

March 8, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan asking the law enforcement agency to remove the barbed wire barriers installed at the El Paso land ports of entry.

On February 21, 2019, CBP announced the installation of barbed wire barriers in response to the increasing numbers of Central American asylum-seekers. The lawmakers state in the letter that although Central American asylum-seeking families and children represent a humanitarian challenge, there is no national emergency to justify the deployment of these barriers.

“Unfortunately, this dangerous and unsightly hardening makes our vibrant and safe border look like a war zone. These barriers are blocking lanes meant to facilitate the legal crossing of people and goods,” the members wrote in the letter. “They also pose an unnecessary safety risk to pedestrians crossing on a daily basis, as we witnessed during our recent Congressional delegation tour of the Paso del Norte bridge in downtown El Paso. CBP is literally creating obstacles that harm both the local and national economy and impede lawful crossings.”

“We urge you to remove these barbed wire barriers from El Paso ports of entry immediately and prioritize smart border security measures that do not impede trade and travel or pose a safety risk to the public,” the members continued.

Recently, Congresswoman Escobar and Chairman Thompson visited the Paso del Norte Port of Entry and examined the newly installed barbed wire barriers.

The full letter can be read here.