Senator Cornyn

Cornyn, Sinema Bill to Combat Illicit Cross-Border Tunnels Signed into Law

December 23, 2022

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) released the following statements after the DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act, which instructs U.S. Customs and Border Protection to develop and execute a plan to combat the use of tunnels by cartels and other transnational criminal organizations, was signed into law:

“Tunnels are one way cartels try to evade Border Patrol and smuggle drugs, weapons, and people across our border,” said Sen. Cornyn. “By eliminating the cartels’ use of tunnels, we can stem the flow of narcotics and human trafficking into the U.S., and I’m glad this legislation is now law.”

“We’re cracking down on cartels smuggling drugs and people across our border by directing Customs and Border Protection to develop a plan to seal illegal underground tunnels on the Southwest Border,” said Sen. Sinema.


The DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act instructs U.S. Customs and Border Protection to develop a plan that helps identify, breach, and remediate illicit cross-border tunnels. The legislation also requires CBP to conduct a resource assessment to determine the technology and staffing needs necessary for this strategic plan’s implementation, and report to Congress on CBP’s implementation progress after one year. Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11) originally introduced this legislation in the House of Representatives, where it passed on April 5, 2022.