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Subcommittee Chairman Pfluger Delivers Opening Statement in Homeland Markup of Legislation to Honor Fallen CBP Agent, Enhance Border Security, Counter Transnational Repression

April 10, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement in a markup of six bipartisan pieces of legislation that would honor fallen Air and Marine Operations Agent Michel Maceda, enhance border security, and counter transnational repression.


Watch Subcommittee Chairman Pfluger’s opening statement.

As prepared for delivery:

Before we get started considering the bills noticed for today, I just want to begin by making a point on next week’s hearing. As you all know, it has been the Chair’s practice in this Congress to let everyone finish their thoughts when recognized even after their five minutes expire.

I want to give everyone a heads up that for next week’s budget hearing with Secretary Mayorkas, the Secretary has a hard stop at 1pm, so the Chair will be very strict on the five-minute limit. We only have three hours so the only way for everyone to get to ask their questions is if we stay on track.

Now onto the business of today’s meeting. I want to thank the Ranking Member for his cooperation in preparing for this bipartisan markup. I know we as a committee have had spirited disagreements recently on some issues, but these six bills being considered today reflect our shared bipartisan commitment to bettering the homeland.

I would like to speak for just a moment on the bills offered by my Republican colleagues.

H.R. 7404, the Subterranean Border Defense Act, requires DHS to provide information to Congress on cross-border tunnel operations. Cross-border tunnel operations pose a significant threat amidst the increasing number of human smugglers, traffickers, and illicit contraband entering the country. DHS’ strategic plan on illicit tunnel operations as mandated by the 2023 NDAA provided Congress with important insight and data, and I thank Mr. Crane for his leadership on this legislation which will require DHS to continue to update Congress on the issue annually.

In February, the subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence held a bipartisan markup aimed at pushing legislation forward that would address the threat of transnational repression in the United States. The markup followed an important hearing on the topic in January and the subcommittee’s work throughout the 118th Congress, and the bills that came out of it had unanimous support. Mr. D’Esposito’s H.R. 7433 would assist DHS’ efforts to reach communities across the country so that victims of transnational repression can report their stories. H.R. 7443, introduced by Mr. Pfluger, creates an important step in the fight against transnational repression by authorizing a dedicated task force within the Department.

I also want to mention the bills brought forward by my Democrat colleagues. H.R. 7439, introduced by Mr. Magaziner and similarly moved through subcommittee markup. This measure makes an important contribution to the effort to combat transnational repression by bringing in state and local partners. H.R. 7832, introduced by Mr. Correa, will allow DHS to expand its capability to bring security to the border by finding and utilizing technological innovations.

Last but certainly not least, H.R. 5302 is an important piece of legislation introduced by the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, Mrs. Gonzalez-Colon, that honors the fallen Air and Marine Operations agent Michel O. Maceda. As we do our duty here in Washington, it’s important that we remind ourselves of those frontline personnel who put their lives on the line every day to protect the homeland and our way of life. I want to thank Mrs. Gonzalez-Colon for her leadership in this matter recognizing the heroism of Agent Maceda.

I strongly support all bills under consideration in today’s markup and urge my colleagues to do the same.