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Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Senate amendment to H.R. 915, the Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act, and yield myself such time as I may consume.

The bill before the House today would for the first time statutorily authorize an important border security program, the BEST program. Under BEST, ICE partners with Federal, State, local, and foreign law enforcement counterparts to establish targeted, cross-agency teams to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations posing significant threats to border security. The program also serves as a model for interagency cooperation, coordination, and information sharing, which is vital in the post 9/11 environment.

I would note that it is appropriate that this bill is named in the memory of Jaime Zapata, an ICE special agent who was killed in the line of duty in Mexico while working as part of a BEST team.

H.R. 915 has enjoyed strong, bipartisan support in the House, passing with overwhelming support earlier this year, as well as in the Senate. Passage today will clear the bill for the President's signature.

I would like to commend the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Cuellar) for his continued work on this important legislation and for being the sponsor of this legislation. The Committee on Homeland Security and Congress as a whole benefit from his commitment to border security matters.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


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