Press Release

CONGRESSMAN CUELLAR ANNOUNCES COAST GUARD'S INITIATIVES TO ASSESS ROLE ON RIO GRANDE RIVER

Cuellar amendment prompts action to secure border

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Washington, April 28, 2008 | Yolanda C. Urrabazo ((202) 225-1640) | comments

Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar held a press conference with local law enforcement officials announcing the U.S. Coast Guard’s initiative to begin assessing the border region’s need for increased Coast Guard presence on the banks of the Rio Grande River.

As a result of Cuellar’s amendment to the Coast Guard Reauthorization (H.R.2830), which passed the House last week, the U.S. Coast Guard will begin meeting with local law enforcement agencies in Laredo tomorrow. Cuellar’s amendment charges the U.S. Coast Guard to analyze their current mission and to identify resources that are necessary to increase their presence.

Part of the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard is an integral part of making Americans safer – with responsibilities for such missions as protecting ports, waterways, and the marine transportation system from an act of terrorism and securing our borders against unlawful entry into the U.S. at ports and waterways.  

Currently, the U.S. Coast Guard is only able to patrol a very small part of the Rio Grande River twice each quarter, leaving local agencies and the U.S. Border Patrol to provide security on banks of the 1,200-mile Rio Grande River and not on the river waters.

“I am pleased the U.S. Coast Guard is taking the initial steps to assess ways to work jointly with local law enforcement agencies,” said Cuellar. “In order to secure the borders, the talents and resources of various entities, like the U.S. Coast Guard, are imperative. The important role they have in protecting our nation is especially needed along the international waters of the Rio Grande River.”

The Coast Guard Reauthorization provides $8.4 billion for the Coast Guard, $200 million over the President’s budget, and provides for a 1,500 increase in Coast Guard personnel, for a total of 47,000. 

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Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the House Homeland Security, Small Business, and Agriculture Committees in the 110th Congress; accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip.

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