New Mexico senators push for expanded hours at border port

In this Jan. 4, 2016 photo, a U.S. Border Patrol agent drives near the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Santa Teresa, N.M. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico’s two U.S. senators are urging federal officials to expand the hours of operation at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich sent a letter Wednesday to the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Their request targets northbound commercial traffic.

Southbound hours were recently extended as part of a yearlong pilot project.

The senators say the area already has gained a reputation as a fast-growing international trade center and longer hours of operation would clear the way for expanded economic opportunities on both sides of the port.

In the New Mexico Legislature, Democrat Rep. Bill McCamley also has proposed a measure calling for northbound hours to be extended until midnight for at least a year.

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