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Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank my colleague and good friend, Congressman FRANCISCO CANSECO, for his work on the issue of cross-border violence and its impact on the United States.
Mr. Speaker, In recent years, drug trafficking-related violence has increased in Mexico. According to Mexican officials, over 40,000 people have been killed as the result of drug-related violence since 2006.
As the gentleman from Texas has pointed out, we should be very concerned that there are insufficient methods to track this violence and that it spills over into the United States.
When evaluating increased violence in Mexico and its effect on the United States, a central concern is the potential for what has been termed ``spillover violence''--an increase in drug trafficking-related violence in the United States.
The violence being committed by Mexican drug cartels within Mexico's own borders presents a national security challenge for Mexico. When that violence spills over into the United States, it presents a national security concern for America as well.
Cross-border violence is a challenge for both countries while criminals kill not only each other but government officials, law enforcement and military officers, innocent civilians and children.
Administration officials maintain that there has not yet been a significant spillover of violence from Mexico into the United States. But we should not wait for it to happen.
This bill requires the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to provide a joint report to Congress on the Departments' ability to track, investigate and measure cross-border violence along the Southwest border.
In addition, it directs the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to make recommendations to Congress on how best to accurately track, investigate and measure cross-border violence.
Cross-border violence is a complex problem which cannot be resolved overnight. This legislation is an important first step in developing an overall strategy to combat spillover violence.
I again thank Mr. Canseco for his work on this issue, and I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
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