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Sen. Hutchison introduces border law enforcement legislation

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 28, 2009 05:09 PM

Apropos of my discussion with Glenn Beck this evening, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced a border enforcement bill to help hard-hit communities deal with narco-terrorism. Drop in the bucket. But better than nothing:

U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), today filed The Border Law Enforcement Relief Act of 2009, S. 339, which would create a grant program at the U.S. Department of Justice to help border communities combat narcoterrorism.

“Our border law enforcement personnel are under assault. Powerful Mexican drug cartels threaten the safety of our communities and the law enforcement officials who protect us,” said Sen. Hutchison. “Congress must provide funding to combat narcotics trafficking and safeguard families and neighborhoods along the border that are on the frontlines. This legislation is an important step toward securing our borders and preventing violence in Mexico from spreading into our country.”

“Border violence places a financial burden on the taxpayers with law enforcement struggling to meet the personnel and the equipment needed to keep up with the combat against drugs. Our local police are outnumbered, outgunned, and do not have the financial resources to match the cartel’s unlimited financial budget. I appreciate Senator Hutchison’s leadership role in this endeavor of obtaining funds for the law enforcement in the border areas and looking out for the best interest of the United States,” said Sheriff Omar Lucio, Cameron County.

“Border security continues to be one of Laredo’s top priorities. The City of Laredo would strongly benefit from this important legislation. Border communities are in dire need of additional resources to ensure the protection of their citizens. I applaud the efforts of Senator Hutchison to safeguard our borders,” said Raul Salinas, Mayor of Laredo.

“I fully support and appreciate Senator Hutchison’s legislative initiative,” said Houston Police Department Chief Harold Hurtt. “The proposed Border Law Enforcement Relief Act is desperately needed to combat the growing violence along our southern border. It also recognizes that the major interior cities and urban areas are experiencing some of the same problems facing the border cities and provides funds necessary for large cities to combat the resulting drug and gang violence along with human trafficking, which is not restricted to border cities. A partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies is crucial to addressing these issues.”

The Border Law Enforcement Relief Act of 2009, which was cosponsored by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D- N.M.), will create and authorize $100 million in federal grant funding for each fiscal year from 2009 – 2013. Two-thirds of the funding will be designated for border communities within 100 miles of the northern and southern borders. The remaining one-third will go to law enforcement agencies nationwide that are affected by border-related criminal activity.

This grant funding may be used to obtain equipment, upgrade technology, hire additional personnel, and cover overtime and transportation costs associated with criminal activity along the border.

The National Sheriff’s Association pledged its support of the Border Law Enforcement Relief Act.

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