- Associated Press - Thursday, May 29, 2014

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says he is pushing legislation to improve the health and economies of border communities.

During a trip to southern New Mexico on Wednesday, the Democrat said he is sponsoring a bill, the Border Health Security Act, to strengthen binational collaboration and establish grant programs to improve public health infrastructure and infectious disease monitoring. New Mexico’s senator says he is also working on a bill called the Colonias Improvement Act to reduce red tape for water and road improvement projects for border communities known as “colonias.”

Udall’s office says one in four families in the colonias lives in poverty, many without access to decent housing - even working plumbing. The lack health services and educational opportunities also contribute to higher rates of serious communicable diseases.