Washington, DC – The House of Representatives today approved legislation modeled on a bill drafted by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to criminalize the act of constructing or financing a tunnel or subterranean passage across an international border into the United States. The following is a statement by Senator Feinstein:
“The Senate has previously passed similar legislation twice – first in the comprehensive immigration reform bill and next in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill -- so I am hopeful that a bill outlawing the construction of a border tunnel will soon be on its way to the President for his signature.
Earlier this year, I toured a warehouse containing the entrance to a half-mile long tunnel stretching from San Diego through to Tijuana, Mexico discovered by border officials in January. The tunnel was incredibly sophisticated. It had lights, ventilation, pumps, and a concrete floor. On the Mexican side, 2000 pounds of marijuana was found, and on the American side 300 pounds was found. Yet, there is no law making the building or financing of these tunnels illegal. We’ve got to close this loophole and stop those who would subvert our nation’s border security by tunneling under the border.”
Since 9/11, at least 44 border tunnels have been discovered in the United States, all but one have been on the southern border. These tunnels range in complexity to from simple ‘gopher holes’ a few feet long at the border, to massive drug-cartel built mega-tunnels.
The danger is clear, and you can be sure that there are more tunnels out there. So Congress must respond and impose tough sanctions on those who would build and operate these tunnels. Those who would turn a blind eye should be punished as well.”