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Cuellar seeks to protect SpaceX from border wall

February 1, 2019

As uncertainty continues about whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s plan for a border wall could impact SpaceX, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, filed legislation prohibiting the use of funds to build physical barriers through the planned spaceport and several wildlife refuges.

Cuellar announced in a press release that he added language to the Democratic border security proposal that would prohibit funds from being used to construct border barriers impacting SpaceX, the National Butterfly Center, La Lomita Historical Park, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge.

"This is a big win for South Texas," Cuellar said in a statement. "I worked hard to include this language because I know we can secure the border in a much more effective way, and at a fraction of the cost, by utilizing advanced technology and increasing the agents and properly equipping them on the border."

However, President Donald Trump has vowed not to sign any language that does not include funding for his signature campaign promise: a border wall.

The language Cuellar inserted into the bill follows a 35-day partial government shutdown after Trump declined to sign bipartisan language on Dec. 22 because it didn’t contain $5.7 billion in funding he is seeking for a border wall.

Trump agreed to end the partial government shutdown on Jan. 25 and gave lawmakers until Feb. 15 to come up with a bill containing border wall funding that he would sign, saying if legislators don’t the government would likely shutdown again and that he may declare a national emergency in order to build a border wall.

(WATCH Cuellar speak at Homeland Security Appropriations Conference committee.)

Last March, Cuellar voted for a bill containing $1.6 billion in funding for 33 miles of border wall in Hidalgo and Starr counties in legislation that temporarily kept the government open until last December.

Those 33 miles are likely to impact several of the wildlife refuges he is seeking to protect.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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