[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 249 (Friday, December 28, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 76346-76352]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31328]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

8 CFR Part 100

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

19 CFR Part 101

[Docket No. USCBP-2011-0032; CBP Dec. No. 12-23]
RIN 1651-AA90


Opening of Boquillas Border Crossing and Update to the Class B 
Port of Entry Description

AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DHS.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule establishes a border crossing in Big Bend National 
Park called Boquillas and designates it as a Customs station for 
customs purposes and a Class B port of entry (POE) for immigration 
purposes. The Boquillas crossing will be situated between Presidio and 
Del Rio, Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the 
National Park Service (NPS) are partnering on the construction of a 
joint use facility in Big Bend National Park where the border crossing 
will operate.
    This rule also updates the description of a Class B port of entry 
to reflect current border crossing documentation requirements.

DATES: Effective Date: January 28, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colleen Manaher, Director, Land Border 
Integration, CBP Office of Field Operations, telephone 202-344-3003.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This rule establishes a border crossing in 
Big Bend National Park called Boquillas and designates it as a Customs 
station for customs purposes and a Class B port of entry for 
immigration purposes.

[[Page 76347]]

Executive Summary

    In 2010, the Presidents of the United States and Mexico issued a 
joint statement supporting the designation of a region of protected 
areas on both sides of the Rio Grande, including Big Bend National 
Park, as a region of binational interest. In support of this, CBP began 
working with the National Park Service to establish a border crossing 
to allow authorized travel between the areas in the United States and 
Mexico. On October 28, 2011, CBP published a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register (76 FR 66862), which 
solicited public comment. The NPRM proposed to establish a Class B port 
of entry/Customs station in Big Bend National Park called Boquillas. 
Boquillas was proposed to be a Class B port of entry for immigration 
purposes under 8 CFR 100.4 and a Customs station for customs purposes 
in 19 CFR 101.4. In the NPRM and in this final rule, the Class B port 
of entry/Customs station is referred to as a border crossing. The NPRM 
also proposed to update the description of a Class B port of entry in 8 
CFR 101.4 to reflect current border crossing document requirements. The 
Boquillas border crossing will service only pedestrians visiting Big 
Bend National Park and Mexican Protected Areas; CBP will not process 
cargo, commercial entries, or vehicles at Boquillas.
    CBP received 47 comments in response to the NPRM, 36 of which 
favored the opening of the border crossing. Although some commenters 
were opposed to the opening of a new crossing in this area of the 
southwest border, saying that it will decrease the security of the 
border, other commenters thought that the Boquillas crossing would 
increase security in the region and facilitate legitimate travel. Many 
commenters were of the view that the Boquillas border crossing would 
benefit the region, including Big Bend National Park and its visitors, 
as well as the inhabitants of the village of Boquillas. CBP did not 
receive any comments regarding the proposed revised Class B port of 
entry description.
    After review of the comments, CBP has concluded that the 
establishment of the Boquillas border crossing is consistent with the 
designation of the area as a region of binational interest and that the 
Boquillas border crossing is needed to fill the long stretch of border 
between Presidio and Del Rio where there is currently no authorized 
international border crossing. CBP has also concluded that the addition 
of a legal crossing facility at the site will enhance security in the 
area by providing a way for legitimate travelers to identify themselves 
to CBP and comply with U.S. regulations. Therefore, this final rule 
establishes the Boquillas border crossing in Big Bend National Park and 
revises the description of a Class B port of entry. This final rule 
addresses the relevant comments CBP received regarding the proposed 
crossing.

Background

    On May 19, 2010, President Obama and President Calder[oacute]n of 
Mexico issued a joint statement recognizing that the Big Bend National 
Park and Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River in the United States, along 
with the Protected Areas of Maderas del Carmen, Ca[ntilde]on de Santa 
Elena, Ocampo, and R[iacute]o Bravo del Norte in Mexico together 
comprise one of the largest and most significant ecological systems in 
North America. The Presidents expressed their support for the 
designation of the region as a natural area of binational interest, and 
encouraged an increased level of cooperation between the two countries. 
Based on this joint Presidential statement, the Commissioner of CBP 
announced plans to establish a border crossing in Big Bend National 
Park.
    NPS, within the U.S. Department of the Interior, has been working 
with CBP on the border crossing. Efforts to establish this new border 
crossing were set in motion by discussions between the White House, the 
U.S. Department of Interior, and the U.S. Department of Homeland 
Security. NPS planned to construct a facility that could be used by NPS 
as a visitor center and would accommodate the infrastructure necessary 
to operate a border crossing.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    On October 28, 2011, CBP published a notice of proposed rulemaking 
(NPRM) in the Federal Register (76 FR 66862) proposing to establish a 
border crossing in Big Bend National Park where U.S. citizens and 
certain aliens would be able to cross into the United States. Before 
2002, a border crossing, called Boquillas, was open in the national 
park. The NPRM stated that the new border crossing would be located at 
the site of the historic crossing and would also be called the 
Boquillas border crossing. The NPRM proposed to designate the Boquillas 
border crossing as a Class B port of entry and a Customs station under 
the supervisory port of entry of Presidio, Texas. Presidio, Texas is a 
Customs port of entry listed in section 101.3 of the CBP regulations 
(19 CFR 101.3). For ease of reference, the NPRM referred to the 
proposed Boquillas port of entry/Customs station in this document as a 
border crossing; this final rule does likewise. For additional 
background information, please see the preamble to the NPRM.

Traveler Processing at the Boquillas Border Crossing

    As described in the NPRM, the Boquillas border crossing will 
service only pedestrians visiting Big Bend National Park and Mexican 
Protected Areas--not import business. Therefore, CBP will not process 
cargo, commercial entries, or vehicles at Boquillas. Persons using the 
Boquillas border crossing will only be permitted to bring limited 
merchandise into the United States; CBP will only process items exempt 
from duties and taxes under 19 CFR 10.151. This provision generally 
covers importations that do not exceed $200 in value.\1\ All such items 
must comply with all applicable regulations, including all relevant 
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service restrictions. Persons using 
the Boquillas crossing must also comply with Federal wildlife 
protection laws and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife import/
export regulations.
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    \1\ Under 19 CFR 10.151, importations that do not exceed $200 in 
value are generally exempt from duty and taxes. Such merchandise 
shall be entered under the informal entry procedures. See 19 CFR 
128.24(d).
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The Public Comment Period

    The NPRM provided a 60-day public comment period, which closed on 
December 27, 2011. CBP received 47 comments in response to the proposed 
rule. Thirty-six of these submissions were in support of the proposal, 
and included submissions from many individuals who live in the vicinity 
of Big Bend National Park as well as a submission from an environmental 
conservation association on behalf of over 300,000 members. Eleven of 
the submissions were opposed to the proposal, and also included 
submissions from individuals familiar with the park, including a former 
superintendent of Big Bend National Park. The following section groups 
the relevant comments, along with CBP's responses, by issue.

Discussion of Comments

A. General Security

Comments
    Several commenters are opposed to the opening of a new crossing in 
this area of the southwest border, saying that it will decrease the 
security of the border. One commenter, who was the superintendent of 
Big Bend National Park from 1994 to 1999 and was familiar

[[Page 76348]]

with the crossing when it was open, said that, while the crossing 
served its purpose, illegal activity also took place. The commenter is 
concerned that due to the increase in illegal activity along the 
southern border in recent years, drug cartels will view the crossing as 
a ``back-door'' to the United States. Another commenter stated that 
illegal immigration and smuggling of contraband is at an all-time high 
in the Border Patrol's Big Bend Sector. Finally, one commenter stated 
that the new border crossing will present a risk to park visitors and 
NPS rangers.
    However, many commenters who support opening the border crossing 
are of the view that the border crossing will maintain the security of 
the border while providing a legal access point between the United 
States and Mexico. Many commenters believe that due to the remoteness 
of the area, the Big Bend region does not have the same security risks 
as other parts of the southern border. Several commenters believe that 
the re-opening of the border crossing with new security measures is 
likely to increase security in the park, as those participating in 
illegal activity along the border are unlikely to attempt to enter the 
United States at a monitored border crossing. These commenters believe 
that those seeking to cross illegally are more likely to use any point 
along the many miles of unmonitored border.
CBP Response
    CBP disagrees that opening the Boquillas border crossing will 
decrease security in the area. The proposal to open the Boquillas 
border crossing was made after extensive CBP analysis and consultation 
with our Mexican counterparts. CBP firmly believes that the addition of 
a legal crossing facility at the site will enhance security in the area 
by providing a way for legitimate travelers to identify themselves to 
CBP and comply with U.S. regulations. CBP concurs with commenters who 
believe that the border crossing will support security efforts in Big 
Bend National Park in that the enhanced security focus at the border 
crossing will discourage illegal activity in the vicinity of the 
Boquillas border crossing.
    Security concerns are of the utmost importance, and CBP will take 
all appropriate security measures at the Boquillas border crossing and 
surrounding areas. CBP continues to take steps to increase security in 
the area, as we have done all along our borders. CBP already has a 
strong security presence in place in the Border Patrol's Big Bend 
Sector, and there are many layers of border security in place to secure 
the Big Bend region. CBP Border Patrol agents are assigned to the park; 
NPS enforcement rangers patrol the park; Border Patrol checkpoints are 
staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, on all public roads leading 
from the park; and Border Patrol agents patrol the areas around the 
checkpoints and highways leading from the area. The audio and video 
surveillance at the new border crossing will further enhance security 
at this locale.
    Regarding the statement that illegal activity is at an all-time 
high, the commenter does not reference specific data, and CBP data does 
not support this statement. According to CBP data, the number of 
apprehensions in the Big Bend Sector was the highest in the year 2000. 
Since 2001, CBP has increased the number of Border Patrol agents in the 
area, and there has been a decrease in the number of apprehensions for 
illegal activity in the area every year since then.

B. Opportunity for Travel

Comments
    One commenter is opposed to providing more opportunities for 
travelers from Mexico to enter the United States, and for this reason, 
objects to the opening of the crossing. Other commenters supporting the 
opening of the Boquillas border crossing stated that the border 
crossing will only benefit law-abiding nationals of Mexico and the 
United States.
CBP Response
    The Boquillas border crossing does not provide any greater 
opportunity to enter the United States than any other current Port of 
Entry. Most of the travelers who would use the Boquillas border 
crossing would be U.S. tourists that visit the Park within the United 
States, go over to Mexico to visit, and then return to the United 
States. All Mexican nationals seeking admission to the United States at 
the Boquillas border crossing will be required to meet all 
admissibility and document requirements and comply with all relevant 
U.S. laws and regulations.
    CBP supports facilitating legitimate travel between the United 
States and Mexico. CBP agrees that the border crossing will only 
benefit law-abiding travelers, including nationals of Mexico, carrying 
proper documentation.

C. Use of Remote Technology

Comments
    Several commenters are concerned that the use of remote technology 
does not provide adequate security at the border. Some of these 
commenters expressed concern that opening a crossing that is not 
staffed will provide free access to anyone seeking to enter the country 
and will cause an increase in the number of illegal entries into the 
country. One commenter stated that scanning documents is insufficient 
to keep terrorists, criminals, drugs, or other contraband out of the 
country.
    On the other hand, a few commenters noted that CBP has used remote 
technology to successfully secure portions of the U.S.-Canada border. 
Some commenters noted that those using the Boquillas border crossing 
will be required to present certain border crossing documents and that 
state of the art technology will be used to verify the identities of 
travelers.
CBP Response
    CBP believes that the technology solution to be used at the 
Boquillas border crossing will provide adequate security. All travelers 
seeking admission at the Boquillas border crossing will be required to 
be admissible to the United States and be in possession of a travel 
document that complies with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative 
(WHTI). The WHTI document requirements were implemented to enhance 
security efforts at the borders and to facilitate the movement of 
legitimate travel within the Western Hemisphere.\2\ Since the full 
implementation of WHTI in June 2009, CBP has the ability to validate, 
in real time, a traveler's documents to determine the traveler's true 
identity and citizenship. The Boquillas border crossing will provide a 
way for legitimate travelers to identify themselves to CBP and access 
this area.
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    \2\ For more information on WHTI, see the WHTI Land and Sea 
Final Rule, 73 FR 18384.
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    As explained in the preamble of the NPRM, CBP intends to use a 
combination of staffing and technology solutions to operate the border 
crossing. Remote technology will assist CBP in maintaining security and 
verifying the identity of those entering the United States, while also 
ensuring that they possess proper documentation to do so. Kiosks 
electronically connected to the El Paso port of entry will enable CBP 
officers in El Paso to remotely process travelers at the Boquillas 
border crossing.\3\ CBP officers in El Paso will be in contact with 
Border Patrol agents within the park, who will respond when a physical 
inspection is required. CBP officers will assist onsite as operational 
needs dictate. CBP will process and

[[Page 76349]]

clear all persons who use the Boquillas border crossing to enter the 
United States. CBP will install a 24-hour surveillance camera at the 
Boquillas crossing to monitor activity. The cameras will be monitored 
24 hours a day at CBP's Combined Area Security Center and at the Alpine 
Border Patrol Station. CBP Border Patrol agents or NPS enforcement 
rangers stationed in the area will be available to take any necessary 
law enforcement measures. The 24/7 surveillance at the Boquillas 
crossing will further enhance security at this locale. Additionally, 
the Boquillas POE will only be open during daylight hours. While open, 
the Boquillas facility will also serve as a Park Service visitor's 
center and will be staffed by the Park Service.
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    \3\ Although Boquillas would be under the supervision of the 
Presidio port of entry, the kiosks would be connected to the El Paso 
port of entry, because El Paso has the appropriate facilities for 
remote processing.
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    In addition, there are already many layers of border security in 
place to secure the Big Bend region: the CBP Border Patrol agents 
assigned to the Big Bend National Park Substation; the NPS Enforcement 
Rangers who patrol the park; Border Patrol checkpoints staffed 24/7 on 
all public roads leading from Big Bend National Park; and Border Patrol 
agents from the Alpine station who patrol the areas around the 
checkpoints and highways leading away from the area. The 24/7 
surveillance at the Boquillas border crossing will further enhance 
security in this locale. Also, it is important to emphasize that the 
Boquillas border crossing is intended for pedestrian use only, as there 
are no roads or bridges that cross the international line at this 
location. Security concerns related to vehicles entering the United 
States will not apply at the Boquillas border crossing.
    CBP agrees fully with those commenters who noted the successful use 
of remote technology along the U.S.-Canada border. CBP uses remote 
technology at several northern border crossings. This technology has 
been very effective in verifying the identity and citizenship of 
travelers and securing the border.

D. Border Patrol and NPS Rangers

Comments
    Several commenters believe that NPS rangers are not equipped to 
pursue those who might use an unmanned border crossing to enter the 
United States illegally once they are in the country. These commenters 
noted that the terrain in the area is rugged, provides cover, and is 
difficult to patrol. Other commenters are concerned that Border Patrol 
agents will not be able to apprehend those who might use the border 
crossing to enter the United States illegally. Finally, one commenter 
suggested that it is inappropriate to open a border crossing utilizing 
remote technology in an area that has seen increased Border Patrol 
presence over the past five years.
    A few commenters writing in support of the new border crossing 
noted that there is a good working relationship between CBP and NPS, 
and that Border Patrol agents stationed in the park work together with 
the NPS Enforcement Rangers for the security of the park. These 
commenters are of the view that re-opening the border crossing would 
facilitate communication between Mexican residents and law enforcement 
and U.S. law enforcement, which will increase security in the region.
CBP Response
    As mentioned above, CBP does not believe the Boquillas border 
crossing will cause an increase in the number of illegal entries into 
the United States. The security in place in Big Bend National Park is 
already strong, and includes CBP Border Patrol agents and NPS 
enforcement rangers who patrol the park and are familiar with the 
terrain. To further combat the threat of illegal immigration and 
smuggling of contraband, CBP, in collaboration with NPS, is in the 
process of constructing new residences in Big Bend National Park so 
that CBP may assign Border Patrol agents to permanently work and live 
in the park. Upon completion and staffing of these homes, Border Patrol 
will have the largest contingent of agents ever assigned to Big Bend 
National Park.
    CBP does not agree with the comment that the opening of a border 
crossing in an area where there has been an increased CBP presence is 
inappropriate. To the contrary, CBP is of the view that the increased 
CBP Border Patrol presence has enhanced the security of the area.
    CBP agrees that there is a good working relationship between Border 
Patrol agents and NPS enforcement rangers in the park. CBP also agrees 
that facilitating communication between and with law enforcement 
personnel enhances security in the area.

E. Proximity to Other Border Crossings

Comments
    One commenter objects to the opening of an unstaffed crossing, 
because there is a staffed crossing in Presidio, Texas, which the 
commenter stated is not far away.
    Conversely, comments submitted in support of the border crossing 
noted that after the crossing was closed, the closest legal border 
crossing was more than 100 miles from the village of Boquillas, Mexico. 
One commenter stated that travel to the closest border crossing from 
the Mexican side required hours of travel on substandard roads, and, as 
a result, families have become disconnected and the local Texas economy 
has been negatively affected. Another commenter stated that someone 
making a living selling inexpensive crafts, as many of the residents of 
the village of Boquillas do, cannot afford to make a nearly 300 mile 
roundtrip journey to the nearest legal border crossing.
CBP Response
    The closest legal border crossing west of the site of the Boquillas 
border crossing is Presidio, Texas. Presidio is more than 150 miles 
from the Boquillas site by river and more than 120 miles by road on the 
U.S. side. On the Mexican side, the town of Boquillas is very isolated. 
By road, a traveler would have to travel hundreds of miles south to the 
interior of Mexico to connect to a highway that would bring the 
traveler back northwest to Presidio, Texas. To the east of the 
Boquillas border crossing site, the closest legal border crossing is 
Del Rio, Texas. Del Rio is more than 250 miles from the Boquillas site 
by river and more than 260 miles by road on the U.S. side. On the 
Mexican side, by road, a traveler would have to travel hundreds of 
miles from the town of Boquillas south into the interior of Mexico to 
connect to a highway that would bring the traveler back northeast to 
Del Rio, Texas. Thus, CBP believes the Boquillas border crossing is 
needed to fill the long stretch of border between Presidio and Del Rio 
where there is currently no authorized international border crossing.

F. Effect on the National Park and the Village of Boquillas

Comments
    A few commenters are opposed to opening a border crossing in a 
national park. One commenter said that there is little in the village 
of Boquillas to attract park visitors and little in Big Bend National 
Park to attract the residents of Boquillas, Mexico. Several commenters 
suggested that increasing commerce to a small Mexican village is an 
insufficient reason to open a new border crossing.
    However, many other commenters are of the view the Boquillas border 
crossing will benefit Big Bend National Park and its visitors, as well 
as the inhabitants of the village of Boquillas. Some commenters noted 
that the resources that make Big Bend National Park worthy of 
protection are not

[[Page 76350]]

confined solely within the bounds of the National Park, but include 
surrounding parks and protected areas in both the United States and 
Mexico. They are of the view that the legal crossing will allow 
conservationists to collaborate across the Rio Grande, permitting 
greater protection efforts for plants and wildlife. One commenter 
stated that closing the crossing in 2002 had an adverse impact on the 
ability to protect natural resources, because the long distances to the 
closest legal border crossing have complicated cross-border cooperation 
on issues ranging from firefighting to removal of invasive species.
    Some commenters noted that the history and culture of the United 
States and Mexico are deeply intertwined in this area, and, to fully 
appreciate this, a visitor to the park needs to be able to interact 
with those on the other side of the border. Many commenters who are 
familiar with the Boquillas border crossing before it was closed in 
2002 anticipate that the new border crossing will open up many 
opportunities for residents and travelers in the area. For example, one 
commenter supports reuniting the protected areas on either side of the 
Rio Grande for such purposes as observing nature and photography. 
Another enjoyed crossing into Mexico prior to the closing of the 
historic crossing to paint landscapes. Other commenters enjoyed 
visiting the village of Boquillas for the cross-cultural experience. A 
few commenters also noted that when the crossing was previously open, 
residents of the village of Boquillas used the crossing to trade goods, 
buy food, and visit relatives. One commenter estimated that 40 percent 
of the Rio Grande Village store's revenue, which lies within Big Bend 
National Park, came from the residents of Boquillas, Mexico, who 
crossed the river to buy staples unavailable in their village.
    A few commenters suggested that allowing for more legal, viable 
sources of revenue for the residents of Boquillas, who once depended 
heavily on tourism and trade of handicrafts, will increase security in 
the region around the Boquillas border crossing. One commenter stated 
that the border crossing will allow the re-establishment of commercial 
and cultural ties, providing opportunities for people across the border 
who currently have no stake in the security of the border, and creating 
an incentive to keep the crossing legal and open. Additionally, a few 
commenters believe that with a legal border crossing, Border Patrol 
agents will no longer need to spend time and resources pursuing those 
who may now be crossing illegally merely to buy provisions to take home 
or those who may have purchased a handicraft made by the residents of 
Boquillas, Mexico.
CBP Response
    CBP believes that the Boquillas border crossing will benefit both 
sides of the border, not only the village of Boquillas. According to 
the U.S. Department of the Interior, the opening of the Boquillas 
border crossing will allow for the development of a model of binational 
cooperation for the conservation and enjoyment of shared ecosystems for 
current and future generations. With more than 268 river miles and 3 
million acres of contiguous parks and protected area on both sides of 
the border, the border crossing should facilitate research and 
conservation along the Rio Grande within Big Bend National Park and the 
Mexican Protected Areas.
    NPS anticipates an increase in visitors to Big Bend National Park 
due to the new border crossing. NPS also anticipates that visitors are 
likely to increase the length of their stays in the Big Bend region in 
order to take advantage of the crossing. New visitors and visitors 
staying longer will have a positive impact on the local economy on the 
U.S. side. Additionally, there are also a number of river outfitters on 
the U.S. side who can benefit from the new border crossing by expanding 
their services and businesses to include trips not only down the Rio 
Grande but also into Mexico. With the opening of the Boquillas border 
crossing, river outfitters will be able to lead tours into Mexico and 
report back to CBP within the park.

G. Lack of a Bridge

Comment
    One commenter is concerned that there will not be a bridge or other 
infrastructure crossing the Rio Grande at this site. The commenter 
stated that when the border crossing was open previously, those 
crossing the Rio Grande did so in leaky rowboats, which presented a 
potential hazard to individuals as well as potential liability to the 
park and the federal government.
CBP Response
    According to NPS, numerous river outfitters and travelers with 
their own boats, such as kayaks or canoes, already float the Rio Grande 
within Big Bend National Park each year. All river outfitters coming 
into the park are required to meet safety standards and training 
standards for employees. All commercial boat operations at the 
Boquillas border crossing will be required to meet the same training 
and safety standards as the current river outfitters. Additionally, NPS 
requires that all travelers with their own boats register at park 
headquarters prior to floating the river.

H. Maintenance of the Facility

Comment
    One commenter is concerned that there is insufficient maintenance 
staff in the park to maintain this new structure along with the many 
other existing structures in the park.
CBP Response
    NPS does not anticipate any issues with maintenance of the 
facility. The opening of the Boquillas border crossing requires the 
construction of a small facility and the installation of hardware that 
meets the technical specifications for land border crossings. NPS is 
constructing a facility large enough to house both a small visitor 
center and the CBP inspection stations. The small facility is designed 
to be both energy efficient and low maintenance and will have minimal 
impact on park maintenance operations.

I. Opportunity for Comment

Comment
    One commenter is of the view that the opportunity CBP provided for 
public comment was too late, as the project was already underway. The 
commenter also stated that the project is already behind schedule and 
over budget.
CBP Response
    Even though there had been discussions about establishing a border 
crossing in Big Bend National Park after President Obama and President 
Calder[oacute]n issued their joint statement in 2010, CBP had not made 
a final determination to proceed with the project until an 
environmental assessment was completed and public comment was sought 
and reviewed. CBP has carefully considered all the comments received 
before reaching any conclusions about whether to open the border 
crossing. NPS has not indicated any issues with funding the 
construction of the facility.

J. Cost of Project

Comment
    One commenter is concerned about the cost of the project. The 
commenter believes federal spending should be reduced, and is concerned 
that this project will increase the U.S. debt level.

[[Page 76351]]

CBP Response
    The costs and benefits of this rule are discussed in the section 
entitled, ``Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and 
13563 (Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review)'' and elsewhere in 
this document. CBP is of the view that the societal benefits of this 
rule outweigh the costs.

Revision of Class B Port of Entry Description

    In the NPRM, CBP also proposed to update the description of a Class 
B port of entry to reflect current border crossing document 
requirements. The Boquillas border crossing would fit within the 
proposed new description of a Class B port of entry. CBP received no 
comments regarding the proposed revision to the Class B port of entry 
description. For a full explanation of the Class B description 
amendment, please see the section entitled ``Proposed Revision of Class 
B Port of Entry Description'' in the NPRM.

Adoption of Proposal

    In view of the foregoing, and after consideration of the comments 
received, CBP has determined to adopt as final, the proposed rule 
published in the Federal Register, which establishes the Boquillas 
border crossing and revises the description of a Class B port of entry.

Authority

    These regulations are being amended pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 301, 6 
U.S.C. 112, 203 and 211, 8 U.S.C. 1103, 8 U.S.C. 1185 note (section 
7209 of Pub. L. 108-458), and 19 U.S.C. 1, 58b, 66 and 1624.

Executive Orders 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and 13563 
(Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review)

    This final rule is not an ``economically significant'' rulemaking 
action under Executive Order 12866, as supplemented by Executive Order 
13563, because it will not result in the expenditure of more than $100 
million in any one year. This final rule, however, is a significant 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866; therefore, the Office of 
Management and Budget has reviewed this rule.
    The opening of the Boquillas border crossing will entail 
constructing a small inspection facility and installing hardware that 
meets the technical specifications for land ports of entry. NPS is 
constructing a building large enough to house both a small visitor 
center and the CBP inspection station. This construction is being 
funded entirely by NPS and is expected to cost $2.1 million,\4\ which 
accounts for special construction needed to address the remoteness of 
the facility. CBP will be responsible for procuring and installing all 
equipment needed for its operation, which includes inspection kiosks, 
surveillance equipment, and an agricultural waste disposal system. This 
equipment will cost $1,577,000 the first year, which includes 
installation, hardware, connectivity, and security.\5\ We estimate that 
the facility will cost $200,000 each year for operation and 
maintenance; an estimated $195,000 will be incurred by CBP and $5,000 
by NPS.\6\ NPS will also staff the facility with a combination of paid 
seasonal and volunteer personnel. NPS estimates that 0.5 paid Full-Time 
Equivalents (FTEs) will be needed to staff the new facility at a cost 
of approximately $17,800 per year.\7\ The total cost of opening the 
Boquillas border crossing is estimated to be $3.7 million in the first 
year and $217,800 in subsequent years, all of which will be incurred by 
the U.S. government.
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    \4\ Source: National Park Service Predesign Study--Boquillas 
Crossing Visitor Contact/Border Station. January 2011.
    \5\ Source: CBP Office of Information Technology estimate on 
March 4, 2011.
    \6\ Sources: CBP Office of Information Technology estimate on 
March 4, 2011 and National Park Service estimate on March 24, 2011.
    \7\ NPS assumes the facility will be staffed seasonally for 
approximately half the year with a GS-05 step 5 employee ($35,489 
annual salary). Email communication with Big Bend park management 
staff on March 24, 2011. Salary information: http://www.opm.gov/oca/11tables/html/RUS.asp, accessed March 24, 2011. Calculation: 0.5 FTE 
x $35,489 = $17,745, rounded to $17,800. This calculation does not 
include benefits, because the facility will be staffed by part-time 
seasonal employees.
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    NPS anticipates that 15,000 to 20,000 people will use the Boquillas 
border crossing in the first year.\8\ Most of this traffic is expected 
to be U.S. citizens who will benefit from visiting the town of 
Boquillas del Carmen on the Mexican side of the border for food, 
souvenirs, and a unique cultural experience. The number of border 
crossers may grow over time as NPS continues to work with the Mexican 
government to develop ecotourism and sports and recreational 
opportunities. Because of the absence of data on the number of future 
border crossers and their willingness to pay for these experiences, we 
are not able to quantify the benefit of the availability of these 
experiences to the U.S. economy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Source: Telephone communication with Big Bend park 
management staff on January 10, 2011.
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    In addition to opening a new border crossing at Boquillas, this 
final rule will revise the definition of a Class B port of entry to 
make the admissibility documents allowed at a Class B port of entry 
consistent with WHTI. The costs and benefits of obtaining WHTI-
compliant documents were included in the final rule establishing 
WHTI.\9\ This final rule will not result in any additional costs or 
benefits.
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    \9\ The Regulatory Assessments for the April 2008 Final Rule for 
WHTI requirements in the land environment can be found at 
www.regulations.gov, document numbers USCBP-2007-0061-0615 and 
USCBP-2007-0061-0616.
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Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This section examines the impact of the final rule on small 
entities as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 603), 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness 
Act of 1996. A small entity may be a small business (defined as any 
independently owned and operated business not dominant in its field 
that qualifies as a small business per the Small Business Act); a small 
not-for-profit organization; or a small governmental jurisdiction 
(locality with fewer than 50,000 people).
    This final rule does not directly impact small entities, because 
individuals will be affected by the final rule and individuals are not 
considered small entities. In the NPRM, we stated that we did not 
believe the rule would have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities and requested comments regarding 
that assessment. As we did not receive any comments with information 
that shows that the rule will have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, CBP certifies that this final 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities.

Executive Order 13132

    The final rule will not have substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between the National Government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 
of Executive Order 13132, this final rule does not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism 
summary impact statement.

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

    DHS and CBP, in consultation with NPS within the U.S. Department of 
Interior, have been reviewing the potential environmental and other 
impacts of this proposed rule in accordance with the National

[[Page 76352]]

Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the 
regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR part 1500), 
and DHS Management Directive 023-01, Environmental Planning Program of 
April 19, 2006.
    NPS prepared an environmental assessment (EA) that examines the 
effects on the natural and human environment associated with the 
proposed construction and operation of a visitor station and 
establishment of a Class B port of entry on the Rio Grande between the 
United States and Mexico within Big Bend National Park. The NPS EA 
encompasses all components of the Boquillas border crossing, including 
CBP operations of the port of entry. On June 28, 2011, NPS issued a 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) concluding that the proposed 
activities would not result in a significant impact to the human and 
natural environment.
    In accordance with NEPA, CBP has carefully reviewed the EA 
developed by NPS and has determined that it considers all potential 
impacts of the project accurately. Therefore, CBP is adopting the EA 
developed by NPS and is issuing a FONSI. These documents will be posted 
on the CBP Web site at www.cbp.gov and in the docket for this 
rulemaking at http://www.regulations.gov.

Signing Authority

    The signing authority for amending title 19 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations falls under 19 CFR 0.2(a), because the establishment of 
this Customs station is not within the bounds of those regulations for 
which the Secretary of the Treasury has retained sole authority. 
Accordingly, this final rule may be signed by the Secretary of Homeland 
Security (or her delegate).

List of Subjects

8 CFR Part 100

    Organization and functions (Government agencies).

19 CFR Part 101

    Customs duties and inspection, Harbors, Organization and functions 
(Government agencies), Seals and insignia, Vessels.

Amendments to the Regulations

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, we amend 8 CFR part 100 and 
19 CFR part 101 as set forth below.

Title 8--Aliens and Nationality

CHAPTER I--DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

PART 100--STATEMENT OF ORGANIZATION

0
1. Revise the authority citation for part 100 to read as follows:

    Authority:  8 U.S.C. 1103; 8 U.S.C. 1185 note (section 7209 of 
Pub. L. 108-458); 8 CFR part 2.


0
2. Amend Sec.  100.4(a) as follows:
0
a. Revise the fifth sentence of Sec.  100.4(a) to read as set forth 
below.
0
b. Under the heading ``District No. 15--El Paso, Texas,'' add the 
subheading, ``Class B'' and add ``Boquillas, TX'' under the new ``Class 
B'' heading.


Sec.  100.4  Field offices.

    (a) * * * Class B means that the port is a designated Port-of-Entry 
for aliens who at the time of applying for admission are exempt from 
document requirements by Sec.  212.1(c)(5) of this chapter or who are 
lawfully in possession of valid Permanent Resident Cards, and 
nonimmigrant aliens who are citizens of Canada or Bermuda or nationals 
of Mexico and who at the time of applying for admission are lawfully in 
possession of all valid documents required for admission as set forth 
in Sec. Sec.  212.1(a) and (c) and 235.1(d) and (e) of this chapter and 
are admissible without further arrival documentation or immigration 
processing. * * *
* * * * *

Title 19--Customs Duties

CHAPTER I--U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND 
SECURITY; DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

PART 101--GENERAL PROVISIONS

0
3. The authority citation for part 101, and the sectional authority for 
Sec. Sec.  101.3 and 101.4, continue to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 301; 19 U.S.C. 2, 66, 1202 (General Note 
3(i), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States), 1623, 1624, 
1646a. Section 101.3 and 101.4 also issued under 19 U.S.C. 1 and 
58b;
* * * * *


Sec.  101.4  [Amended]

    4. In Sec.  101.4(c), under the state of Texas, add ``Boquillas'' 
in alphabetical order to the Customs station column and add 
``Presidio.'' to the corresponding Supervisory port of entry column.

Janet Napolitano,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2012-31328 Filed 12-27-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-14-P