U.S. REP. RON BARBER CALLS FOR CROSS-BORDER STRATEGY TO FIGHT BORDER CRIME
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today introduced bipartisan legislation that calls for the United States and Mexico to work cooperatively to fight Mexican criminal organizations that threaten people living on both sides of the border.
“Increasing violence by drug traffickers and other criminal organizations is threatening the safety of people in both of our countries,” Barber said today. “I am committed to ensuring the safety of the citizens of my district who live and work along the border. This is one important step to that end.”
Barber, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and of the House Border Security Caucus, is one of the lead Democratic sponsors of the United States-Mexico Cross-Border Security Act. Barber’s district includes 110 miles of the border and he is one of 10 members of the House who has constituents on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The bill also is sponsored by Rep. Connie Mack, a Florida Republican who is chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“I am glad that this legislation has moved forward with strong support in the House of Representatives,” Mack said today. “The current U.S. policy does not address the severe threat we currently face and we can no longer sit idly and sacrifice the security of our country and people. I urge the administration to make this legislation a top priority.”
The legislation would direct the State Department to create a plan involving all parts of the federal government in a united effort to fight Mexican transnational criminal organizations.
The plan would target the criminals by cutting off money-laundering capabilities and securing the border through additional staffing, infrastructure, technology and intelligence coordination.
The plan, to be developed in cooperation with the Mexican government, also would strengthen Mexican institutions so they can cut off support for and dismantle the criminal groups before they cross the border.
“The Mexican government estimates that criminal organizations have murdered more than 47,500 people in Mexico between December 2006 and September 2011,” Barber said. “We have seen evidence that violence is crossing the border.”
In May 2010, Rob Krentz, a prominent Southern Arizona rancher, was killed in Barber’s district on border-area land his family has ranched since territorial days. No one has been arrested, but authorities believe the killer crossed the border, killed Krentz, then returned to Mexico.
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed in December 2010 while on patrol in an Arizona canyon just north of the border. Authorities have said the suspects entered the United States illegally from Mexico with the intent of robbing drug traffickers.
“When I return to my district for the month of August, I will meet with families and ranchers who live on the border, local law enforcement and Border Patrol to ensure they have the resources they need to keep our border communities safe,” Barber said today.
Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012
U.S. Rep. Ron Barber
Arizona’s 8th Congressional District
(520) 881-3588 or (520) 904-5876