News Releases

Murray Secures Northern Border Funding in Senate Spending Bill

Jul 16 2002

Increased border patrol and inspection staff would improve safety, facilitate cross-border trade

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced that she has helped secure $246.6 million to increase staffing and resources for the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) at the Northern Border in the fiscal year 2003 Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary (CJSJ) Appropriations bill.

Murray's efforts stemmed from border staffing levels that are still not adequate to address growing commercial traffic and new and increased security threats at the Northern Border.

"The events of September 11th called the nation's attention to an issue I have been working on for years – the need for more trained personnel along our 4,000 mile Northern Border," Senator Murray said. "After years of hard work, Congress has recognized that we must increase funding for staff and facilities at the Northern Border."

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Murray helped write the bill that will provide:

  • More than $76.2 million to hire and train 570 additional Border Patrol agents;

  • $25 million to transfer 285 experienced Border Patrol agents to the Northern Border;

  • $28 million to enhance the Enforcement Case Tracking System (Enforce) database and to deploy additional technology to better document and track the investigation, identification, apprehension, detention and or/removal of immigration law violators;

  • $34 million to hire, train and deploy 460 additional immigration inspectors that will enhance border security at land border ports-of-entry;

  • $83.4 million for an interoperable law enforcement intelligence data system for the INS.

    Murray also helped secure $2.525 billion for U.S. Customs Service activities across the country. Murray encouraged Committee support for the NEXUS program, which establishes designated commuter lanes at the Northern Border for low-risk individuals. Much of the increase for the U.S. Customs Service will provide additional staff, facilities and technology at the northern border.

    "With increases in drug smuggling, organized crime and terrorism, it is crucial that Congress provide the resources needed to effectively staff the Northern Border. Increasing staff and resources will be a step forward in strengthening Customs' enforcement capabilities along the Northern Border," Murray said.

    Murray also announced that she has secured $500,000 in the CJSJ bill for the Whatcom County Multi-Jurisdictional Criminal Justice Data Integration Project, which will enable Whatcom County law enforcement officials to share data and information with appropriate justice agencies within the county and across the state.

    Presently, the databases of the many law enforcement and justice agencies are unable to share or exchange data or case information. The federal funds will help remedy this problem by creating the protocols and data exchange standards that will allow agency databases to communicate.