WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger helped lead the introduction of a bipartisan bill to understand and combat ongoing trafficking and smuggling activities throughout Central America.
The bipartisan Trafficking and Smuggling Intelligence Act would direct the U.S. intelligence community to prioritize its efforts to combat drug trafficking, human trafficking, and human smuggling in the Northern Triangle countries—Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—and Mexico. Additionally, it would review how nefarious operations in these countries contribute to ongoing migration to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Spanberger introduced this legislation alongside U.S. Representative Will Hurd (R-TX-23). Spanberger and Hurd are both former Central Intelligence Agency case officers.
“As a former intelligence officer, I worked drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) in Central America. And as a former federal law enforcement agent, I worked on-the-ground drug cases and have seen the real impact of the drug trade on our local communities. The destabilizing impact of DTOs and human trafficking networks begins long before drugs or displaced people reach our country as they wreak havoc across Central American countries. This havoc has a dangerous ripple effect on U.S. national security and exacerbates the humanitarian situation at our southern border,” said Spanberger. “This bipartisan bill would use the expertise of our intelligence community to help us better understand how to combat drug trafficking, human smuggling, and organized crime in the Northern Triangle and make sure our intelligence agencies are focused on this instability in our backyard. To protect vulnerable populations in Central America and to keep Americans safe and secure, we must understand and address the root causes of violence, instability, and illegal migration—and I’m proud to stand alongside Congressman Hurd as we introduce this important legislation.”
“Human traffickers and smugglers are exacerbating the crisis at our southern border and putting innocent lives at risk,” said Hurd. “Understanding and disabling these smuggling and trafficking networks should be a national intelligence priority, which is why I am proud to introduce this important legislation to help dismantle these networks and work to address the crisis at our southern border.”
The Spanberger-Hurd bill would help build a long-term solution to the challenges posed by migration trends from Central America to the United States. Specifically, the Trafficking and Smuggling Intelligence Act would:
- Require the Director of National Intelligence to provide Congress with analytical assessments of the activities of drug trafficking organizations, human traffickers, and human smugglers in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico;
- Require that the DNI’s assessments address how the activities of these organizations affect the security and economic situation in these countries and contribute to migration to the U.S.-Mexico border;
- Require the intelligence community to conduct a review of its activities in the Northern Triangle and assess whether its priorities are sufficient to address the threat posed by drug trafficking organizations, human traffickers and human smugglers to the security of the United States and the Western Hemisphere;
- Require the intelligence community to provide Congress with a report on its review that includes a description of how it is modifying intelligence priorities to better address these threats; and,
- Require quarterly reports to Congress on the intelligence community’s activities in the Northern Triangle and Mexico. These initial reports would be made public.
Click here to read the full bill text.
Spanberger has continued to advocate for smart, effective reforms to U.S. border security and immigration policies—and she has stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of increased migration. Last month, she joined a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives in passing a bipartisan emergency supplemental funding package to help mitigate the effects of the humanitarian crisis at the southern border.