Salmon Demands State Department Answers On Border Crossing Card Theft

Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon, in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, is demanding information regarding the circumstances and implications of the “recent hijacking in Mexico of a truck containing 11,500 personalized Border Crossing Cards (BCCs) and to request a full accounting of this incident and the investigation.”
“Border Crossing Cards are valuable documents that show a bona fide, legal right to be present in our nation,” Salmon says. “The theft of these important documents could allow criminals to circumvent all of the protections currently in place at our borders. This is deeply disturbing and must be addressed immediately”

The Border Crossing Card (BCC) is both a BCC and a B1/B2 visitor’s visa, according to the State Department. A BCC (also referred to as a DSP-150) is issued as a laminated card, which has enhanced graphics and technology, similar to the size of a credit card. It is valid for travel until the expiration date on the front of the card, usually ten years after issuance.

The new card is valid for ten years after issuance, except in the cases of some children.

According to various reports, the truck was hijacked on June 7. The visas have yet to be recovered.

Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry:

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I write today to highlight my concern over the recent hijacking in Mexico of a truck containing 11,500 personalized Border Crossing Cards (BCCs) and to request a full accounting of this incident and the investigation.

Media reports, citing State Department statements made on 24 June, 2015, indicate that a truck carrying 11,500 BCCs to the U.S. Consulates in Guadalajara and Monterrey, Mexico was hijacked on 7 June, 2015 in northern Mexico. To date, no arrests or claims of responsibility for the theft have been made.

I value our vibrant, bilateral commercial relationship with Mexico. Economic opportunities abound between the State of Arizona and Mexico that create jobs and prosperity for both countries. However, the troubling levels of insecurity that exists in Mexico places a strain on the U.S.- Mexican commercial relationship, and threatens our own nation’s security. Security in Mexico and our trade agenda are mutually inclusive topics. Our potential to achieve a positive trade agenda declines as security in Mexico deteriorates.

This particular incident needs to be addressed and a thorough accounting should be provided to Congress in a timely fashion. I respectfully request an immediate briefing to answer at a minimum the following questions:
•What are the circumstances surrounding this hijacking? Was this truck targeted due to the contents of its cargo?
•Can these BCCs be altered or manipulated in a way that could provide future security threats?
•What has the Department done to mitigate any future threat to sensitive border crossing documentation?
•How does this hijacking pose a threat to our ability to secure our borders?
•Have there been other incidents where U.S. secure documents have disappeared in Mexico?
•Why was the press advised of this theft while Congress received no notification?
•Why did the Department take almost three weeks to make available the scant information that it did?

Providing for security at our borders is one of Congress’ most urgent priorities; facilitating trade and legal cross border traffic is another. Addressing this security situation is an urgent matter and if not handled properly will have long term consequences to our relationship with Mexico and security along our border. I look forward to receiving a full briefing on this theft and its consequences as soon as possible.

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