Bipartisan Effort to Utilize Intelligence to Address the Border Crisis
Thursday, I continued my efforts to address the humanitarian crisis on our southern border by combatting drug trafficking, human trafficking and human smuggling. I was joined by fellow former CIA officer Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) in introducing the bipartisan Trafficking and Smuggling Intelligence Act of 2019 to ensure the intelligence community prioritizes resources to combat drug trafficking, human trafficking and human smuggling in the Northern Triangle and Mexico, key contributors to the migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico Border.
In a recent op-ed, I expressed concern that the intelligence community was not maximizing the use of intelligence to deny and disrupt transnational smuggling networks.
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, which is why I am proud to introduce this important legislation to help dismantle these networks and work to address the crisis at our southern border.
“As a former intelligence officer, I worked drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) in Central America. And as a former federal law enforcement agent, I worked on-the-ground drug cases and have seen the real the impact of the drug trade on our local communities. The destabilizing impact of DTOs and human trafficking networks begins long before drugs or displaced people reach our country as they wreak havoc across Central American countries. This havoc has a dangerous ripple effect on U.S. national security and exacerbates the humanitarian situation at our southern border,” said Spanberger. “This bipartisan bill would use the expertise of our intelligence community to help us better understand how to combat drug trafficking, human smuggling, and organized crime in the Northern Triangle and make sure our intelligence agencies are focused on this instability in our backyard. To protect vulnerable populations in Central America and keep Americans safe and secure, we must understand and address the root causes of violence, instability, and illegal migration—and I’m proud to stand alongside Congressman Hurd as we introduce this important legislation.”
The Trafficking and Smuggling Intelligence Act of 2019 would:
- Require 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;
- Require 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;
- Require 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;
- Require the intelligence community to provide Congress with a report on its review that includes a description of how it is modifying intelligence priorities to better address these threats; and,
- Require quarterly reports to Congress on the intelligence community’s activities in the Northern Triangle and Mexico.
The full text of the bill can be found, here.
This legislation builds on my past efforts to find long-term solutions to the migration crisis, including a proposal to reform the United States’ outdated asylum laws.