Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Calls on Coast Guard to Study Presence Along the Rio Grande

Encourages collaborative effort with local entities and CBP

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Washington, October 23, 2009 | Ashley Patterson ((202) 225-1640) | comments
Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) today voted for the Coast Guard Authorization Act, a bill which approves Coast Guard programs for 2010 and includes a provision requiring the agency to conduct a mission analysis study to determine the Coast Guard’s presence along the Rio Grande River.
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Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) today voted for the Coast Guard Authorization Act, a bill which approves Coast Guard programs for 2010 and includes a provision requiring the agency to conduct a mission analysis study to determine the Coast Guard’s presence along the Rio Grande River.

“With this study, the Coast Guard and related agencies can devise a plan to adequately determine how the Coast Guard can share in the responsibility of securing the Rio Grande River,” said Congressman Cuellar.

The Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling international waterways bordering the United States including the navigable portions of the Rio Grande.

Currently, the Coast Guard patrols a limited portion of the river, leaving local agencies and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to secure the banks of the 1,200 mile Rio Grande. For more than a year, Congressman Cuellar has been working with the Coast Guard and CBP to address this problem.

“The safety of the international border continues to be a national security concern as violence persists in neighboring Mexico,” said Cuellar. “The river is a vital international waterway. By analyzing the current mission and identifying the needs, we can address a multitude of security issues and keep our communities safe.”

The provision authored by Congressman Cuellar is designed to improve border security and address local issues along the border, including drug trafficking, human smuggling and deceased bodies floating in the river.

Congressman Cuellar recognizes the need for local agencies to collaborate with federal agencies in their efforts to secure the border, and his amendment requires the Coast Guard to:
  • Evaluate their current mission along the international waters of the Rio Grande River, including a personnel and assets assessment
  • Identify Coast Guard’s needs to increase search and rescue operations, in addition to, drug interdiction operations
  • Work with related agencies, including CBP and local entities, in conducting the mission analysis

Today, the Coast Guard Authorization Act passed by the House by a vote of 385-11. If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the bill would become law.


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Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Government Oversight & Reform Committees in the 111th Congress. Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip and member of the Blue Dog Coalition.




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