McSally: ‘Cross-border tunnel trafficking poses national security threat’

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) on Tuesday unveiled a bill to end illegal tunnel trafficking across the southern border of the United States.

“Cartels have long exploited underground tunnels to smuggle drugs into the U.S., posing a direct threat to our national security,” Sen. McSally said. “This dangerous practice must be stopped.” 

Sen. McSally said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “recently discovered the most sophisticated cross-border tunnel ever built in U.S. history, which ran from a neighborhood in Mexico to San Luis, Arizona.”

If enacted, the DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act, S. 4573, would direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to annually report to Congress on its operations to identify and remediate such cross-border tunnels, according to the congressional record bill summary. CBP also would be tasked with developing and reporting to Congress on a strategic plan to improve such operations.

Additionally, the bill would authorize $1 million for each of fiscal years 2021 and 2022 for CBP to carry out the remediation of such tunnels, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. McSally’s office.

S. 4573 is the U.S. Senate version of the same-named companion bill, H.R. 5828, introduced in February by U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in her chamber.

“Congresswoman Lesko has done a terrific job leading this in the House, and I am proud to work with her on introducing this bill in the Senate,” said Sen. McSally.