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Public Statements

Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012 Amendments

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 825, a resolution providing for the concurrence by the House in the Senate amendments to H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2012, with an amendment.

For many years I have directed my district staff in Huntington Beach, California, to organize regular briefings for me as well as public informational meetings about homeland and border security, particularly security of the coastline I have the honor to represent in Congress. On April 4 of this year, I had one such briefing in the American Legion Post in Newport Beach that featured presentations by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Border Patrol. The briefings were attended by police, sheriff, fire and marine safety personnel from San Diego to Los Angeles.

These briefings are always foremost in my mind when I urge my colleagues in Congress to summon the political will to stop giving our country away by failing to enforce our borders. The southern California shoreline is the destination for a brazen invasion of contraband and illegal labor smugglers by sea. The brazenness is exceeded only by the shocking multiplier effect of violent crime to persons and property that emanates from the ``stash'' (safe) houses and sweat shops that proliferate along a clandestine network extending north from San Diego.

The stakes have been rising in recent years as hundreds of ``panga'' boats ply the waters of Orange County's most treasured beachfront locations, looking for scouts and convoys forward positioned to make a pick-up of exploited workers or drugs shipments. Some panga boats are small, seating 6 to 8 passengers, and sometimes the boats are huge and hold up to 40 people. To suggest it is a sophisticated operation would be an understatement. That is why we enlist the public as well as our protective law enforcement services to spread the word of warning and alert the citizenry to the threat we face as individuals and as a society.

On December 2, 2012, we were tragically reminded of what is at stake when news from the U.S. Coast Guard reached my desk that a brave member of the United States Coast Guard, Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III, was killed in action while defending our coastline from the wave of unlawful foreign incursions. As I did in my letter to Admiral Papp, Commandant of the USCG, I want to convey here the most heartfelt condolences from my family and me, as well as millions of Americans living on this coastline, to Chief Petty Officer Home's family, to the crew of the Cutter Halibut on which Petty Officer Horne served, and to the larger USCG community.

Reports indicate that Chief Petty Officer Horne was in a chase boat pursuing a panga when it turned and rammed his craft, killing him and injuring other USCG members doing their jobs for us. This violence against our coastal defenders is yet another wake up call to America, sounding anew a warning that we must as a nation summon courage to defend our border equal to the devotion to duty Chief Petty Officer Horne exemplified. There was no price he was unwilling to pay to protect our nation, and we must honor him by rising in the same degree to the cause for which he died.

Every day courageous men and women of the USCG are on the front line of the struggle to restore the rule of law in the navigable waters of our nation. As the daily assault on our coastal communities escalates, the USCG stands between us and lawlessness on the open seas and along the shorelines where our very civil order now is under siege. This tragic loss of one of American's finest is the terrible price we pay to turn back those emboldened to violate our border security and threaten our homeland in desperate criminal enterprises, profiting from trafficking in drugs and human beings.

Unyielding in our vigilance against these modern day pirates and slave traders, we pause to mourn the loss of a fellow American whose service to our nation humbles us and deepens our resolve to prevail against the perpetrators of violence and crime making landfall on our coast from the sea.

That can and must be done to honor Chief Petty Officer Horne and all those who have sacrificed all so we may remain a sovereign nation and free people. We owe it to Terrell Horne and each and every one of our fallen heroes. I again urge my colleagues to support H. Res. 825 in honor of Terrell and all those who sacrifice so much for all of us.


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