WASHINGTON D.C.óYesterday, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) along with Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA) offered a bipartisan amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. The amendment would strengthen communication abilities between border state residents and law enforcement. It passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, 302-113. Last year, Congressman Poe worked with Congressman Altmire and the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to pass a similar amendment to the Department of Homeland Security bill.
ìThe failure of the federal government to secure the Southern Border has left border state residents vulnerable to spillover crime from Mexico,î said Poe. ìMany border areas are rural and lack wireless communications capabilities, exacerbating safety concerns. If the federal government is not willing or able to secure the border, we can at least equip our citizens with the capability to call for help. What happened to Rob Krentz should never happen again.î
The Poe-Altmire amendment reallocates $10 million from the Office of the Under Secretary for Management of DHS, to the Border Security, Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology account with the purpose of being used for border cell phone communications infrastructure. This funding will help border residents disseminate border security related information to Border Patrol and law enforcement.
On March 27, 2010, Arizona rancher Rob Krentz was murdered 20 miles north of the border in an isolated area. The lack of communications capability made Krentz more vulnerable than he would have been otherwise and complicated the search for the assailant.