Bingaman & Udall: President signs bill that benefits New Mexico

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today announce that a bill that supports several of New Mexico’s national security initiatives has been signed into law.

The Senators said the fiscal year 2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that was enacted contains $20 million Bingaman and Udall requested for the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. The program models every conceivable disaster and other simulations for disaster preparedness purposes.

The bill also contains $23 million the Senators secured for New Mexico Tech’s National Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center. New Mexico Tech is a member of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which provides natural disaster preparedness training.

“Our state’s federal laboratories and research centers play a valuable role in helping develop and test emergency preparedness models that will benefit the country as a whole, and this legislation strongly supports their activities,” Bingaman said. “The measure also provides key funding to FLETC, which trains law enforcement agents that protect our nation’s borders.”

“With ever increasing violence across our border, New Mexico plays has an integral role in maintaining security for our country and safety for our citizens,” said Udall. “The funding for border patrol initiatives and institutions like FLETC and New Mexico Tech included in this bill will help ensure New Mexico’s role in keeping our nation safe and secure. I am pleased President Obama has signed it into law.”

The spending bill also contains $282.8 million for personnel and construction for the nation’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers. Artesia is home to one of the centers. It also contains $600,000 for an emergency ops initiative in Lea County and $400,000 for San Miguel County’s predisaster mitigation project.

Finally, the measure contains funding for a variety of border security-related activities. New Mexico will receive funding from the following initiatives:

• Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology: $800 million for Southwest Border investments. Through a mix of fencing, technology, and Border Patrol agents on the ground CBP now has nearly 700 miles of Southwest border under effective control, compared to 241 miles in FY 2005.

• Border Patrol: $3.587 billion to fully support 20,163 Border Patrol agents – an increase of 6,000 (or more than 50 percent) since 2006.

• Southwest Border Counterdrug Initiatives: $72.6 million, including $20 million for additional scanning systems for southbound lanes and checkpoints, and $26 million for 50 additional CBP officers, 100 Border Patrol agents, and 33 support personnel and equipment to stop the outbound flow of weapons and currency used in the drug trade.

• Southwest Border Violence: $100 million to combat international trade in illicit drugs, weapons smuggling and crimes associated with violence along the Southwest Border. This is part of an overall $99 million increase over 2009 for ICE investigations. Funding includes:

• $70 million to expand operations related to Southwest border violence by initiating more ICE investigations, intelligence activities, and international programs;

• $10 million for investigations of transnational gangs;

• $10 million for expansion of Border Enforcement Security Task Forces (BESTs); and

• $10 million for counter-proliferation investigation, including bulk cash and weapons smuggling investigations.