Durbin Discusses Effective Border Security With CBP Commissioner

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to discuss border security and investments in screening technology including what are known as “Z-portals” that can help detect drugs and other illicit goods transported through legal ports of entry.  The Department of  Homeland Security (DHS) states that currently only 18 percent of arriving cargo, passenger vehicles, and sea containers combined are scanned by these systems.  Yet, the President requested just $44 million for this technology in his 2019 DHS budget request. 

“Democrats support smart border security investments, not a medieval wall that would be ineffective at solving the issues at our Southern border, ” Durbin said.  “Customs and Border Protection’s own data shows that customs officers at legal ports of entry seize the vast majority of lethal narcotics coming into our country.  We need additional screening technology that is proven to work.  As our nation faces an unprecedented drug epidemic, investments like this are what we should be debating, not a wall.”

A photo of today’s meeting is available here.

In December at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, McAleenan said it would cost approximately $300 million per year for Z-Portals and similar systems to examine 100 percent of arriving cargo, passenger vehicles, and sea containers.