I'm familiar with nearly every mile of our state's border with Mexico. A $25 billion boondoggle to construct a wall in our backyards is not only an outlandish waste of taxpayers' money, it is not a smart investment in border security or what families and communities in New Mexico want or need.
Think of what we could do with that kind of money if we actually invested it wisely. Based on conservative estimates, we could fund center-based childcare for over 350,000 4-year-olds, public K-12 education for almost 300,000 students, or medical treatment for opioid addiction for more than 400,000 Americans with what would otherwise go to New Mexico's portion of a border wall.
President Trump is instead unabashedly ransoming the lives of DREAMers as bargaining chips to achieve one of his most bigoted and divisive ideas.
When the Senate began a debate on the floor last month, I was hopeful that we could find a way to pass a bipartisan solution for DREAMers that included rational border security policies. However, I cannot support legislation that fails to reflect the perspectives and real needs of New Mexicans.
A close relationship with our southern neighbors has long helped write the economic, social, and cultural story of our state. Our border region's unique binational economy has created jobs and tremendous opportunities for businesses in the area.
In fact, New Mexico has been one of the fastest-growing states in the country for jobs related to international exports.
In recent years, I've been proud to support a growing border economy by securing millions of dollars in federal funds and championing public-private partnerships to modernize transportation infrastructure, improve inspection facilities, and increase lawful international trade at our state's ports of entry in Santa Teresa and Columbus.
I have also met with Border Patrol agents who patrol the vast, rugged terrain of New Mexico's border region. I fought for greater investments in the resources and new technologies these agents need to do their jobs and keep our nation safe.
Unfortunately, President Trump has never been interested in responsible border security policies that would help us build a safer and more prosperous border region.