Bill to combat trafficking, smuggling networks signed into law

Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Spanberger’s legislation to combat Central American trafficking and smuggling networks and strengthen U.S. border security is now law.

The Trafficking and Smuggling Intelligence Act, led by Spanberger, D-Va., and Will Hurd, R-Texas, directs the U.S. intelligence community to prioritize efforts to combat drug trafficking, human trafficking, and human smuggling networks in the Northern Triangle countries—Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—and Mexico.

Additionally, it uses the expertise of the intelligence community to understand how these criminal organizations in the region contribute to the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Spanberger and Hurd—both former CIA case officers—introduced the legislation in July, and their legislation passed in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) earlier this month.  

“To tackle the security and humanitarian challenges at our southern border, we need to understand the root causes of instability, illegal migration, increased levels of asylum seekers, and senseless violence in Mexico and the Northern Triangle,” said Spanberger, a former federal law enforcement agent and CIA case officer. “As two former intelligence officers, Congressman Hurd and I recognize how the reprehensible activities of criminal organizations in this region create a devastating ripple effect that threatens our national security and exacerbates the ongoing humanitarian crisis along the U.S-Mexico border. At its core, our bipartisan legislation will deploy the expertise of the intelligence community to keep the American people safe and secure. I’d like to thank President Trump for signing our bill into law—and I’d like to thank Congressman Hurd for working across the aisle to protect vulnerable populations in Central America and for committing to strengthening the security of our borders and points of entry.”

“My philosophy is simple and has remained the same: the only way we get big things done in Congress is by working together. My bipartisan effort with Rep. Spanberger to stop drug smugglers exacerbating our border crisis and putting innocent lives at risk is the perfect example of that,” said Hurd. “I’m proud that this is my 16th piece of legislation to be signed in to law in 5 years, and I’ll continue to work with my colleagues in Congress over the next year to find solutions to big problems and deliver real results back home.”

During a speech delivered on the floor of the U.S. House in July, Spanberger spoke in support of her amendment, and she described the range of impacts Central American trafficking and smuggling activities can have on the health and safety of American communities. Click here to watch her full remarks.

Spanberger has continued to advocate for smart, effective reforms to U.S. border security and immigration policies—and she has stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of increased migration.

Earlier this year, she joined a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives in passing a bipartisan emergency supplemental funding package to help mitigate the effects of the humanitarian crisis at the southern border.

Later that month, Spanberger visited the southern border with a bipartisan group of her U.S. House colleagues.


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