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2 of 3 NM Border Counties Back Herrell's Background Check Bill

June 16, 2021

WASHINGTON — Two of New Mexico's three border counties approved statements of support last week for legislation Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) introduced to address the continuing crisis.

Commissioners in Hidalgo County and Luna County offered separate measures in support of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Criminals Act, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month.

Herrell's bill would require comprehensive background checks for all illegal aliens who are detained in the U.S., and would prevent the release of any alien prior to the completion of their immigration case if they have any criminal convictions, terrorism, cartel or gang ties, or cannot be properly vetted. The bill follows an earlier letter Herrell sent Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas questioning his department's inability to adequately vet the illegal immigrants they apprehend. 

In the resolution approved by Hidalgo County on June 9th, commissioners noted that "U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have acknowledged that smuggling networks are directing Central American immigrants in buses to Hidalgo County, and it has seen a sharp rise in asylum-seeing migrants reaching the border at Antelope Wells." Hidalgo County shares 86 miles of border with Mexico.

Luna County, which includes 60 miles of New Mexico's 180 mile international border, passed a similar proclamation in support of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Criminals Act on June 10th. Commissioners there also approved a second proclamation in support of Congresswoman Herrell's Repaying the Rural Borderlands Act.

That legislation would reimburse ranchers, farmers, homeowners, small businesses, and other property owners for the cost of damage or personal harm caused by illegal immigrants on or to their property. The bill would also compensate state and local governments for the cost of feeding, housing, and transporting aliens upon release from federal custody.

"I'm grateful to have this show of support from leaders who have a firsthand understanding of the situation on our border," said Herrell. "This is exactly why the Vice President and Border Czar, Kamala Harris, needs to visit the border herself. How can anyone say they're working on these problems without seeing and hearing the communities most affected?"

Herrell invited Harris to visit the border in New Mexico on May 24. She has not received a response.