Congressman Henry Cuellar's legislation, H.R. 915, better known as the Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force bill, was considered and passed by the United States Senate on Friday. This legislation seeks to enhance border security while reducing at the same time potential threats along the border. This initiative, also known as BEST, will (a) facilitate collaboration between federal, state, local, tribal, and foreign law enforcement agencies to execute coordinated activities in furtherance of border security and homeland security; and (b) will enhance information sharing among such agencies.
"It is imperative to support programs like these and make sure we emphasize the collaboration between agencies to effectively execute measures that keep our border communities safe. I am proud to say the BEST program originated in Laredo, Texas, and it has proven to be crucial and effective in intercepting and reducing illegal activity across the border. I thank Senator Lieberman and Senator Collins for their efforts and help towards the passage of the H.R. 915 through the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and on the Senate floor" said Congressman Cuellar.
BEST initiated in 2006, led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The program is based on partnerships between law enforcement officials and agencies at the local, state, and federal level. Its main purpose is to intercept and dismantle criminal organizations that threaten border security. The legislation passed in the Senate by voice vote with one amendment. The amended bill will be reconsidered by the House once it comes back to session in November.