State Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-NM, was appointed to the House Committee on Homeland Security Tuesday night, an assignment that will put her at the forefront of the ongoing debates over border security and immigration.
Torres Small — who represents New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Roswell – broke the news of the assignment in a press release Wednesday, a week after she was named to the House Armed Services Committee.
The Committee of Homeland Security was created in 2002, soon after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as a select non-permanent committee designed to conduct congressional oversight in the development of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to the committee’s official website. The committee was later designated a permanent committee on Jan. 4, 2005.
The committee crafts and oversees implementation of policies in areas such as chemical facility security, infrastructure security, counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, election security, border security and immigration, according to the website.
Torres Small of Las Cruces, said in the release that the southern New Mexico district she represents includes more than 175 miles along the U.S.-Mexican border and three ports of entry.
“Having grown up on the border, I know how vital it is that we create policy that makes our border communities strong and vibrant,” she said in the release.
“This means implementing smart, proven border security measures that help to protect our borders while also supporting and improving trade with our neighbors,” Torres Small continued.
She added that what she calls a clear and moral immigration system is also important.
“Border security and immigration reform are not mutually exclusive issues, but rather depend upon one another. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, I look forward to working to ensure those issues are treated in tandem and being a strong voice for the rural border in Congress,” she said.
Torres Small, 34, is a water rights attorney and former field representative to Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM. In November, she pulled out a narrow victory over former state Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, to represent the typically Republican-leaning district.
Earlier this month, Herrell declared she will seek the Republican nomination to run for the seat again in 2020.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.