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Congresswoman Escobar Sends Letter to Appropriations Committee Leadership to Prioritize Funding for El Paso Joint Processing Center

Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) sent a letter to Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro and Ranking Member Chuck Fleishmann urging them to prioritize available funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Package for a Joint Processing Center (JPC) in El Paso.  

“In 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) purchased 60 acres of land from the City of El Paso as the first step in building a new JPC for the region; this land was purchased using funds from the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Package for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act of 2019,” wrote Congresswoman Escobar. “The updated facility would increase CBP and El Paso’s capacity to efficiently process migrants and ease overcrowding at existing processing centers, which are too old and small to adequately handle current processing needs. However, construction on the facility had not started before the funding from 2019 had to be repackaged and re-appropriated to prevent losing it, leaving CBP with 60 acres of land and no funding for further development.” 

She continued, “With additional funding for JPCs available in the final FY23 appropriations bill, I would like to stress the importance of affording communities that consistently welcome migrants into their cities, like El Paso, the opportunity to modernize outdated infrastructure that no longer meets the challenges presented by the new normal of 21stcentury immigration.”

“Local leaders and stakeholders in El Paso have had to assist the federal government over the years through evolving and emerging immigration challenges. For decades El Paso has had to support the federal government, which has failed to adequately address the growing numbers of migrants at the southern border. Congress has failed to modernize antiquated immigration laws and for decades has addressed immigration policy as border policy. At the same time, the situation has become more unsustainable as immigration is increasingly driven by political instability and accelerating climate change in equatorial countries,” she added. 

“Last Congress, I brought over 20% of my Congressional colleagues to El Paso to see how outdated border infrastructure, outdated personnel structures, and decades-old immigration laws have created processing inefficiencies, led to frequent overcrowding in processing facilities, fueled mission creep for CBP agents, led to indefensible backlogs in the immigration system, and have ultimately worked to make our border less secure,” she continued. “With these lessons learned in mind, I have advanced several strategies that could help streamline processing at the border, including successfully establishing civilian Processing Coordinator positions, introducing legislation that reimagines asylum processing into a comprehensive process, and calling for more legal immigration pathways.” 

“I urge the Committee to consider El Paso a recipient for JPC funding in FY23. Thank you for your consideration of my request as you finalize the final FY23 appropriations bill,” she concluded. 

The full text of the letter can be found here. 

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