Border Tunnel Prevention Act

For years, smugglers have struggled to bypass our border checkpoints. Now they are changing tactics, tunneling underground in order to evade U.S. enforcement agents.

These tunnels are being used to transport narcotics from Mexico into the United States, but could also be used to smuggle weapons and people. They range from shallow dirt crawlways to sophisticated concrete structures with shoring, ventilation and electricity. One recent tunnel even included a makeshift elevator.

After visiting a tunnel in San Diego in 2006, I introduced the Border Tunnel Prevention Act, which became law the next year. The bill criminalized the construction, financing or use of an unauthorized tunnel into the United States.

In 2011, I introduced a new bill to enhance the law and provide law enforcement and prosecutors additional tools to locate tunnels, identify criminals and punish those responsible.