Friday, January 22, 2010

Denish announces border security legislation

"Increasing international border security is critical for the economic future of southern New Mexico' Denish says.

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish announced new border security legislation,to better combat security challenges facing New Mexico from increasing criminal activity across the border.

The legislation calls for the designation of four executive agency border liaisons to coordinate efforts with the federal government and counties along the border, ensuring the continued development and growth of cross-border commerce and trade between New Mexico and Mexico.

“The security of our international border is critical to the safety of all New Mexicans and we must work diligently to prevent violent crime from crossing over our Southern border,” Denish said. “We must ensure that the free flow of commerce and trade continues uninterrupted through our three ports of entry, with all assets of the state brought to bear in a prudent and efficient manner to support both federal and local security efforts, as well cross-border economic development and job creation."

In May 2008, we reported on a tour Denish took with the NM National Guard along the border. You can read about her inspection here.

After her tour nearly two years ago, Denish told us "the troops and border guards are doing a good job patrolling the area, but the Federal Government needs to continue funding the operation and the state needs to provide housing assistance."

If the legislation, introduced in Santa Fe today, is approved, Border Security Liaisons would be designated by the Departments of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Public Safety, Transportation and the Border Authority. Each liaison would provide an international border security perspective in their respective agency's ongoing strategic planning. New Mexico Department of Transportation's liaison would focus particularly on vital ports of entry infrastructure needs.

Rep. Cote, who agreed to carry the legislation for the lieutenant governor, said the state has to securing its border with Mexico so, "we can we continue to expand cross-border commerce through our ports of entry."

House Joint Memorial 9 would require increased coordination between these formally designated liaisons and their local and federal counterparts to better leverage state resources and support future economic development in the state's border region.

Denish photo: MG Bralley

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