Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) voted against H.R. 6028, the Merida Initiative to Combat Illicit Narcotics and Reduce Organized Crime Authorization Act of 2008. Congressman Poe urged defeat of the $1.4 billion drug-fighting plan for Mexico and Central America because it ignores the needs of law enforcement fighting crime along the US border. The bill passed the US House by a vote of 311-106.

I fully support the fight to end the violence along the US-Mexico border, said Poe. However, I just returned from Cameron County along the Texas Mexico border and let me assure you the violence is not just south of the border. Our border sheriffs have to beg, borrow and confiscate just to have enough to get by.

Congressman Poe has been an outspoken critic of this legislation citing the needs of local law enforcement in the fight to secure our borders. Congressman Poe supports the efforts of the Merida Initiative to fight drug-related crime, but has been a strong advocate for supporting law enforcement efforts on both sides of the US-Mexico border by reallocating half of the funding to US border law enforcement agencies.

I have been from one end of the Texas border to the other and I understand the gravity of the situation and the domestic consequences of the warring cartels in Mexico, said Poe. It is imperative that we address the situation in Mexico, but it is irresponsible to do so while ignoring the fact that our side of the border is already infested with drug related crime and in desperate need of funding.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there have been over 250 incursions by suspected Mexican military units into the US in the last ten years. In addition, kidnappings on both sides of the border and assassinations of Mexican law enforcement continue to rise at an alarming pace.

Our border sheriffs are outgunned and outmanned by the cartels hired guns, many of which were trained in the US, continued Poe. Past agreements with Mexico to fight drug trafficking in their country have proven disastrous. Many members of the notorious Zetas were Mexican military trained in our own country. Mexican officials originally supported the $1.4 billion gift, but then refused to take it if it was subject to US oversight. If thats not a red flag, I dont know what is.

Congressman Poe serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Member of the Congressional Border Security Caucus. Poe frequently travels to the US-Mexico border and has been a leading advocate in Congress to secure our borders and fully fund our border sheriffs and local law enforcement.