Congresswoman Veronica Escobar Votes for Package to Re-open Government, with $1.6 Billion for Smart, Effective Border Security Investments

January 23, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) voted for a new bipartisan legislative package to re-open government and provide $1.6 billion for key smart, effective border security investments.

The legislative package is based on legislation previously negotiated between House and Senate Republicans and Democrats prior to the shutdown.

“We are 33 days into a senseless shutdown that is endangering our security and threatening our economy, because President Trump and the Republican Senate insist on holding the American people hostage to a wasteful and ineffective border wall,” said Congresswoman Escobar. “I’m working every day to end this shutdown and deliver effective investments for the community of El Paso. Now, the Senate must do their part and send this legislative package to the President’s desk.”

The package includes $1.6 billion in key border security-related measures, as follows:

  • $524.2 million for improvements in ports of entry: The Financial Services and General Government bill includes $524.2 million for investments in ports of entry, in order to meet the latest security requirements, improve border security, and increase capacity for vehicular traffic.
  • $563.4 million for additional immigration judges: The Commerce-Justice-Science bill in the package includes $563.4 million to accelerate the recruitment and hiring of additional immigration judges, in order to address the backlog in processing immigration cases.
  • $527 million for assistance to Central America: The State-Foreign Operations-Related Programs bill includes $527 million for assistance to Central America, a critical investment in addressing conditions in Central American countries that many migrants are fleeing from.

The package funds all agencies outside Homeland Security through September 30. It also includes language ensuring federal employees who are working without pay or who have been furloughed receive back pay.