House Passes Homeland Bills to Secure Southern Border & U.S. Supply Chain

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives advanced two Homeland Security Republican bills to secure the southern border against drug cartels and strengthen U.S. supply chain resilience.

The DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act (H.R. 4209), introduced by Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX), aims to secure the southern border by directing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to develop a strategic plan to counter illicit cross-border tunnels. This bill will thwart drug cartels and human traffickers who utilize illicit tunnels to smuggle narcotics, weapons, and cash across the border.

The DHS Trade & Economic Security Council Act of 2021 (H.R. 4476), introduced by Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), codifies the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Trade and Economic Security Council and the position of Assistant Secretary of Trade and Economic Security within the DHS Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans, which will ensure better preparedness of U.S. supply chains in the face of future pandemics, disasters, and emergencies.

“Our homeland faces a myriad of threats coming from every direction – from the crisis at our southern border to the growing national security implications of the supply chain crisis,” said Ranking Member Katko. “Meanwhile, Homeland Security Republicans have remained committed to providing meaningful solutions to better protect our great nation from evolving threats around the world.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens supply chain disruptions now more than ever. Rep. Meijer’s legislation will ensure that the U.S. is better prepared for future economic disasters, crises, and conflicts,” Ranking Member Katko continued. “Additionally, I applaud Rep. Pfluger for leading the effort to address and stop robust attempts to circumvent our border security system. We know that cartels and transnational criminal organizations are utilizing complex, advanced tunnel systems to smuggle mass-amounts of illicit drugs into our country. Unfortunately, too many of our communities are seeing the devastating impact of this. I appreciate Rep. Pfluger and Rep. Meijer’s leadership on these critical homeland security priorities.”

“In addition to the record number of illegal migrant encounters along our southern border, increasing quantities of illegal narcotics—especially methamphetamine, fentanyl, and other fentanyl-laced drugs­ are pouring into our country,” said Rep. Pfluger. “Many of these drugs are trafficked by the cartel through sophisticated cross-border tunnels beneath the U.S.-Mexico border. My bill will make sure Customs and Border Protection (CBP) develops a plan and has access to the tools and resources they need to destroy the tunnels and prevent these dangerous drugs from entering our communities. I want to thank Chairman Thompson and Ranking Member Katko for bringing this important legislation to the Floor today, and I look forward to working my colleagues in the Senate to send this measure to the President’s desk.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic opened our eyes to the dangers of becoming dependent on untrustworthy countries like China for materials that are critical to the daily lives of Americans,” said Rep. Meijer. “It is clearer now than ever before that economic security is homeland security. This bill will formalize and centralize existing efforts at DHS to ensure that the Department works more efficiently and remains focused on addressing these economic security challenges in the years to come. I appreciate the committee’s support for this effort and look forward to working with the rest of our colleagues to safeguard our nation’s economic and homeland security for future generations.”

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