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CONGRESSWOMAN WATERS APPLAUDS JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF H.R. 4119, “THE BORDER TUNNEL PREVENTION ACT OF 2012”

March 12, 2012
Press Release

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation in response to the rising number of smugglers' tunnels found along the US-Mexico border. H.R. 4119, "The Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2012" would expand existing law by making it a crime to conspire to build, use, or finance a border tunnel.  The legislation would also authorize the use of wiretapping to investigate and prosecute those conspiring to build such tunnels.  In expressing support for the legislation, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) delivered the following remarks:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I want to first thank my colleague, Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) for introducing H.R. 4119, and commend you for organizing today's mark-up of this very important legislation.

Indeed, there has been a considerable increase in the number of tunnels being used for transporting drugs, guns, and contraband.  And nowhere is the urgency felt greater than along the California and Arizona borders with Mexico.  Since 2006, federal authorities have found 40 and 74 tunnels in those states, respectively.  Altogether, our federal agents have found 149 cross-border tunnels since 1990 – and 139 of those tunnels have been discovered since the September 11th attacks in 2001.

We must ensure that our federal officials have every tool at their disposal in their efforts to combat the proliferation of these tunnels so that our communities along the Southwest US-Mexico border can feel safe and secure.  Therefore, I strongly support passage of H.R. 4119 and urge my colleagues to vote ‘yes' on the legislation.

Thank you, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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