Today, a bill authored by Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), the Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2012, which strengthens existing legislation that criminalizes the use, construction, and financing of cross-border tunnels, was signed into law by President Barack Obama. In May, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Reyes' bill with strong bi-partisan support in both chambers.
This legislation will further deter tunnel activities by providing enhanced investigative tools to law enforcement and increasing options for the prosecution of these crimes.
"After many months of diligent work with my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as President Obama and the Administration, the Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2012 is now public law, and I am thankful to all who supported this important legislation that will help prevent illicit narcotics and other contraband from entering our country," Congressman Reyes said. "During my more than 45 years of public service, which include 26 ½ years serving in the U.S. Border Patrol, I have been a strong and committed voice on securing our borders and our nation.
"The 2012 Border Tunnel Prevention Act is an important piece of legislation that will close loopholes and drastically improve the tools available to investigate and prosecute individuals who construct cross-border tunnels, as well as allow for the forfeiture of bulk cash and merchandise that enters the United States through these illegal channels," Congressman Reyes said.
Congressman Reyes worked closely with Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as other Members of Congress from border communities to move this legislation forward.
H.R. 4119 is bipartisan, companion, legislation to U.S. Senate bill S. 1236 introduced by Senator Feinstein (D-California).