Hurd, Spanberger Push to Stop Drug Smugglers, Address Border Crisis Passes House

Yesterday, the bipartisan bill by U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) and I to ensure the intelligence community prioritizes resources to combat drug trafficking, human trafficking and human smuggling in the Northern Triangle and Mexico passed the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

This bipartisan initiative continues my efforts to find long-term solutions to the migration crisis as the Representative of over 820 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, more than any other member of the House. Earlier this year, I expressed concern that the intelligence community was not maximizing the use of intelligence to deny and disrupt transnational smuggling networks that are key contributors to the migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico Border.

As former CIA officers, we introduced H.R. 3720, the Trafficking and Smuggling Intelligence Act earlier this year, and it first passed the House on July 17 as an amendment to the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act.

Human traffickers and smugglers are exacerbating the crisis at our southern border and putting innocent lives at risk. Understanding and disabling these smuggling and trafficking networks should be a national intelligence priority. I am proud of the work my friend Rep. Spanberger and I put into this bipartisan effort to dismantle these dangerous smuggling networks, mitigate the border crisis and keep Americans safe. I thank my colleagues for coming together today to pass this important measure, and I’ll continue to work across the aisle over the next year to find bipartisan solutions to this crisis.

“To strengthen the security of our borders and points of entry, part of our strategy must include addressing the root causes of increased migration and violent conflict in Central America. The volatility in our backyard should be a major concern as we look to protect American families and communities, and our legislation is a step toward building a tough, smart response to the reprehensible activities of cartels and traffickers in the Northern Triangle countries and Mexico,” said Spanberger. “As a former law enforcement agent and intelligence officer, I recognize that the ripple effects of these nefarious actors in their home countries can impact the safety of Americans across the border. Today, I’m proud to stand alongside Congressman Hurd—himself a fellow former intelligence officer—in advancing our bipartisan legislation. I look forward to this bill moving to the Senate, and I am encouraged that it could soon be signed into law by President Trump.”

This effort makes sure our intelligence community prioritizes stopping drug and human trafficking and smuggling by:

  • Requiring the Director of National Intelligence to provide Congress with analytical assessments of the activities of drug trafficking organizations, human traffickers, and human smugglers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico;
  • Requiring that the DNI’s assessments address how the activities of these organizations affect the security and economic situation in these countries and contribute to migration to the U.S.-Mexico border;
  • Requiring the intelligence community to conduct a review of its activities in the Northern Triangle and assess whether its priorities are sufficient to address the threat posed by drug trafficking organizations, human traffickers and human smugglers to the security of the United States and the Western Hemisphere;
  • Requiring semi-annual briefings to Congress on the intelligence community’s activities in the Northern Triangle and Mexico.

The bill will head to the President’s desk after the Senate takes up and passes the FY2020 NDAA conference agreement.


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