Reps. Torres Small, Cuellar, Senator Cornyn, Senator Heinrich, and Texas Representatives Introduce Reauthorization of Donations Acceptance Program

Press Release

Date: Dec. 2, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) announce plans to introduce the Donations Acceptance Program Reauthorization Act of 2020. The Donations Acceptance Program (DAP) enables U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to explore, create and facilitate partnerships for improvements on port of entry infrastructures and technology, with the investment made by the local entities. Original co-sponsors include Representatives Michael McCaul (TX-10), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), and Will Hurd (TX-23).

The goal of DAP is to work with communities along the border to help equip CBP's frontline officers and trade specialists with the tools and capabilities they need to operate more effectively. Accepted donations may be used in support of a wide array of CBP operations and may include: new lanes, inspection booths, inspection technologies, intellectual property rights enforcement tools, and more.

"Since its inception, the Donations Acceptance Program has facilitated beneficial public-private partnerships between border communities and the stakeholders invested in their success. This crucial program serves as an important avenue to make necessary improvements to infrastructure at our land ports of entry, like Santa Teresa, and maximize trade opportunities along the U.S.-Mexico border. I am proud to work alongside my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure the continuation of this critical program," said Congresswoman Torres Small.

"The Donations Acceptance Program is a critical method to invest and expedite improvements at ports of entry in the United States," said Congressman Cuellar. "I established this program in 2013 and worked hard to expand it to create jobs, support trade industries and tourism, reduce border wait times, and increase border security. This reauthorization will only further expand our economic growth and security throughout our nation. As the representative of the busiest land port of entry, I am committed to improving our ports of entry to improve safe and efficient flow of legitimate trade and travel. I want to thank my colleagues in the House, Representatives Torres-Small, McCaul, Gonzalez, and Hurd, as well as Senator Cornyn and Senator Heinrich for their help in writing this bill and ushering support in the Senate."

"Not even four years after my bill to establish this program became law, multiple Texas ports of entry have utilized public-private partnerships with great success," said Sen. Cornyn. "Without this extension, the program will expire, associated construction on new lanes and inspection booths will come to a halt, and ports of entry will have to return to competing for scarce federal resources already stretched because of the pandemic."

"I've been proud to work with business and community leaders to build public-private partnerships and secure millions of dollars in federal funds to facilitate lawful, international trade at New Mexico's ports of entry. We must remain focused on building on our recent successes, like those at the Santa Teresa port of entry, and make sure New Mexico's vibrant border communities and growing ports of entry have the resources they need to thrive," said Sen. Heinrich. "That's why I'm introducing this bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Donations Acceptance Program and strengthen our ports of entry. I will keep fighting to secure forward-looking infrastructure investments in every corner of New Mexico."

"CBP's Donations Acceptance Program provides a platform for stakeholders to invest in key port of entry enhancements to improve and streamline processing. Through public-private partnerships, this program enables CBP to better meet its core mission of facilitating lawful and secure trade and travel. We've already witnessed the success of this program and it is my hope that it is swiftly reauthorized in law," said Congressman McCaul.

"I am encouraged that we can come together in a bipartisan way to reauthorize the Donations Acceptance Program. By extending this program, we are protecting ongoing public-private partnerships, spurring job growth, and strengthening the trade and tourism economies of border communities. I will continue to support efforts that will fully modernize our ports of entry (POEs), like the Pharr and Donna-Rio Bravo POEs in South Texas, and make life better for those in the 15th District of Texas," said Congressman Gonzalez.

"Cross-border trade is the lifeblood of many communities in my district. The Donation Acceptance Program is vital for infrastructure improvements at ports of entry that will in turn create jobs, reduce arduous border wait times and facilitate the flow of goods and services through the region," said Rep. Hurd, whose district includes over 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, more than any other Member of Congress. "I'm proud to join my colleagues in reauthorizing this program, which will have a huge economic impact on the hardworking folks in our communities along the border and the surrounding areas who rely on ports of entry to feed and care for their families."