Tester Statement on Passage of Emergency Border Supplemental Funding Bill

“This is a serious humanitarian crisis… this infusion of resources cannot wait”

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the supplemental border appropriations bill, to provide funding for the humanitarian crisis at the southern border:

“This is a serious humanitarian crisis that requires immediate additional resources to address the most urgent needs at the border, including improving unsanitary conditions and providing basic medical care and food for children and families,” Tester said. “I visited the southern border this spring and saw these detention facilities firsthand – and its clear conditions have desperately deteriorated since. This bill is not perfect and it’s certainly not a silver bullet-but this infusion of resources cannot wait.”

In March, Tester visited the southern border to get a look at the increasingly desperate situation there firsthand. He met with Customs and Border Protection officials, land owners, and agriculture producers to discuss the challenges they face and determine what resources are needed to secure the border in a smart, effective, and cost-efficient way.

During Tester’s visit to the southern border, he:

  • Visited the nation’s largest immigration processing center where unaccompanied children and families are temporarily housed after illegally crossing the border to seek asylum.
  • Viewed existing portions of the border barrier and fencing structures.
  • Toured the Rio Grande River by boat to view the terrain Border Patrol agents must traverse in order to apprehend people crossing the border.
  • Heard feedback from landowners on the President’s proposed border wall, which would run through or near their property.
  • Toured a family farm along the Rio Grande River that would be bisected by President Trump’s proposed border wall, locking the farmer out of 500 acres of his own property.
  • Visited the Hidalgo Port of Entry to see how vehicles are inspected and passengers display identifying documents as they enter the U.S.
  • Visited the Pharr International Bridge Port of Entry to observe the inspection of commercial trucks and cargo containers to ensure that agricultural goods are scanned and processed for safe consumption and pose no threat to domestic producers and consumers.

As Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester is the top Senate Democrat responsible for funding the Department of Homeland Security-the primary agency responsible for border security.