EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Several border communities are celebrating the passage of the omnibus federal spending bill that will help them cope with public safety, health and trade issues.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by both chambers of Congress in the past 48 hours includes $800 million for local entities like the City and County of El Paso to assist migrants released from short-term U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities.
El Paso as of Friday had spent $9.11 million in feeding, housing and busing paroled migrants out of town – with the possibility of additional expenses if the U.S. Supreme Court lets the Title 42 public health rule expire and more migrants come across the border.
The law also has $110 million for the International Boundary and Water Commission; $3 million for the El Paso Border Health Center; $2.5 million for the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission; and $500,000 for the Heritage Tourism Business Connection, the office of U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, announced.
In southeastern Arizona, a border county that often has to deal with a public safety issue related to migrant traffic is getting $2.2 million for its aging jail.
“The Cochise County Jail is approaching 40 years old and is well-overdue for replacement. These funds help offset the costs that would be directly absorbed by our local taxpayers,” Sheriff Mark Dannels said about the facility in Bisbee.
Cochise County, which borders Sonora, Mexico, also is getting $2.9 million for flood control on a road heavily traveled by commercial trucks near the border. Farther west, Yuma is getting $5 million for a water treatment plant, the office of Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Arizona, said.
In New Mexico, some law enforcement agencies are getting $410,721 to acquire technology to quickly identify fentanyl and other dangerous drugs being trafficked through the state by transnational criminal organizations and local groups.