Hurd Bill to Combat Human Smuggling Networks Gains Traction
by Will Hurd on July 17, 2019 at 1:30 PM
Today, I continued my efforts to put an end to the humanitarian crisis along our southern border by urging my colleagues to include my bipartisan bill with Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) as an amendment to the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA). This amendment put forward by us two former CIA officers makes sure that our intelligence community prioritizes combatting and dismantling the networks of drug cartels and human smugglers and traffickers who are benefiting from the border crisis. Following my remarks, the bipartisan amendment was added to the IAA by voice vote.
My full remarks on the House floor as prepared:
I am proud to join my good friend and fellow former CIA officer, the gentlewoman from Virginia, Representative Spanberger, to offer this bipartisan amendment that would direct the intelligence community to prioritize resources to address the humanitarian crisis at the border and in the Northern Triangle and Mexico.
I represent more of the Southern border than any other member of Congress. The root causes of the current crisis are violence, extreme poverty and lack of economic opportunity in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Drug cartels, human traffickers and human smugglers are making this crisis worse and putting innocent lives at risk. They profit while people in Central America suffer and entire nations are destabilized.
Our Intelligence Community is not maximizing the use of intelligence to deny and disrupt their operations - In June, 104,000 people were detained at our border.
Almost every one of them had a phone number of a smuggler, a license plate of a bus that brought them here or a pickup location in their home country.
Understanding and disabling these smuggling and trafficking networks should be a national intelligence priority.
This amendment would require the Director of National Intelligence to conduct a review of intelligence collection priorities in the Northern Triangle and Mexico and then provide quarterly briefings to Congress regarding I.C. activities in the region.
These individuals and organizations threaten the security of the United States and the Western Hemisphere, and we should be using intelligence to stop them.
I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.