Resolution Supporting the Efforts of Resident Commissioner to Urge the U.S. Department of Justice to Allocate the Necessary Resources to Combat Drug-Related Violence in Puerto Rico
SENATOR LUZ ARCE FERRER (PR) INTRODUCED AUG. 2012 MEETING (RATIFIED)
WHEREAS the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) was founded in 1989 as nonpartisan organization with the mission to serve as a catalyst for joint action on issues or common concern, such as security, housing, immigration, education, and healthcare, to all segments of the Hispanics communities; and
WHEREAS the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators has the vision of promoting effective, equal and culturally appropriate access to the best quality of life and security for all, including American people and all other minorities; and
WHEREAS limitations to security resources and personnel necessary to establish a Caribbean Border Initiative, increase the drug-related violence in the U.S. jurisdictions of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that result in an increase of violent deaths of tens of thousands of constituents and has detrimental life consequences to the U.S. American citizens; and
WHEREAS according to the estimates, three-quarters of the homicides in Puerto Rico are linked to the international drug trade and the U.S. government has increased resources along the Southwest Border, drug trafficking organizations have adapted, turning back to well-established routes in the Caribbean to get their product to the market thus creating a national problem; and
WHEREAS, about three-quarters of the cocaine that enters Puerto Rico is then transporting to the U.S. mainland, because Puerto Rico is an American jurisdiction and not a foreign country, once drugs enter the island, they are easily delivered to the states without having to clear customs or otherwise undergo heightened scrutiny; and
WHEREAS, in order to reduce drug-related violence in Puerto Rico, and to the island a less attractive transshipment point for drug trafficking organizations seeking to supply the U.S. market the governor and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico proposed the US Government establish a Caribbean Border Initiative; and
WHEREAS, our nation has a Southwest Border strategy and a Northern Border strategy, but it has no comprehensive, cross-agency counter drug strategy when it comes to our maritime border in the Caribbean; and
WHEREAS, because the consequences of this non-strategy are crystal clear: the violent death of tens of thousands of my constituents, we cannot escape the fact that if this level of violence were occurring in any of the 50 states, it would be treated as a national emergency requiring immediate federal intervention; and
WHEREAS, the federal government has yet to dedicate the resources and personnel necessary to address this problems, the CJS Appropriations bill that the House approved in May contains the following, “The Committee is aware that efforts by Federal law enforcement to reduce drug trafficking and associated violence in the Southwest border region have affected trafficking routes and crimes rates in the Caribbean. The Committee expects the Attorney General to address these trends by allocating necessary resources to areas substantially affected by drug-related violence, and reporting such actions to the Committee”;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that because the provisions of the House CJS Appropriations Bill do not specifically or completely address this issue, the NHCSL should promote, support and encourage that the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies need to do far more than address this problem; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Puerto Rico should not be discriminated upon when assigning security fund because these matters involved American citizens and the transportation of drugs from the Caribbean and the mainland affects the nation as well; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED Resolution supporting the efforts of Resident Commissioner to urge the U.S. Department of Justice to allocate the necessary resources to combat drug-related violence in Puerto Rico.
THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED ON AUGUST 25, 2012, AT THE NHCSL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA AND RATIFIED AT THE NHCSL 2012 ANNUAL MEETING HELD IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO ON NOVEMBER 17, 2012.
Sponsored by: Senator Luz Arce Ferrer (PR)