Congressman Vargas Unites Stakeholders Behind Calexico Port of Entry Funding

Washington, DC - Yesterday, Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) met with more than 30 Calexico and Imperial County leaders and stakeholders to develop a plan that would most effectively position the Calexico West Land Port of Entry (LPOE) to receive funding from the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government for its reconfiguration and expansion project. 

Earlier this year, President Obama’s budget included $98 million in funding that would allow for the construction and completion of Phase 1 of the project.

“I was elated to see so many of Imperial County’s leaders join together to show their unified support for the Calexico Port of Entry project and their readiness to fight for the necessary funding,” said Congressman Vargas.  “The Calexico Port is a vitally important component of the region’s and nation’s economy.  I am proud to lead the Imperial County in securing this crucial funding and look forward to continuing to work with the community on this imperative project.”

Calexico’s LPOE, located in Imperial County, is a pedestrian and vehicle inspection facility constructed in 1974.  It serves more than 16,000 privately-owned vehicles (POVs) and 20,000 pedestrian crossings on a daily basis.  In a 2007 study, the Imperial Valley Association of Governments estimated that delays due to border wait times cost California businesses an estimated $436 million and 5,639 jobs.

“I would like to commend Congressman Vargas on bringing together the region’s leaders for a constructive and much-needed meeting on the Calexico Port of Entry,” said Calexico Mayor Bill Hodge.  “As Mayor of Calexico, I have seen first-hand how the incredibly long border wait times negatively impact the community.  The current inefficient border is a national priority, especially as it pertains to the economic interest of our country.  Modernizing our border is not a partisan issue, but rather a great opportunity to create jobs, boost the economy and foster a more prosperous America.”

“The meeting provided positive discussion with many branches of both government and business sectors represented,” said Linsey Dale, Executive Director of the Imperial County Farm Bureau.  “Imperial County Farm Bureau has reached out to local farmers and ranchers to voice their support of the Calexico Port of Entry expansion project.  We have concerns that the current facility is unable to support the timely movement of migrant workers necessary to harvest crops grown in Imperial County.  It is not uncommon for workers to wait two to three hours to cross the border at Calexico before arriving at the job site creating unnecessary risk of fatigue.  Additionally, many growers have reported a reduction of available labor necessary to harvest crops potentially leading to shortages of fruit and vegetable products necessary to feed our nation.”

Representative Vargas will continue to work with stakeholders in the region to secure funding for the Calexico Port of Entry during the House and Senate appropriations process. 

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