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Home | Tag Archives: rep will hurd

Tag Archives: rep will hurd

Hurd on the Hill: Stopping Drug Cartels and Human Smugglers

There’s no question that our South and West Texas communities are bearing the brunt of the immigration crisis. When crisscrossing the 23rd District of Texas I consistently hear that folks I represent are concerned about the influx of migrants and subsequent releases by the Customs and Border Protection.

It doesn’t help that while the hardworking men and women of our Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Health and Human Services and others on the front lines of the border crisis are working overtime to do their jobs, dangerous drug cartels and human smugglers are benefiting from the crisis.

They operate vast networks that transcend our nation, Mexico and Central America and bring in $29 billion each year – more than Starbucks ($24.71 billion) and McDonalds ($22.9 billion). All while innocent lives suffer.

The root causes of our border crisis are violence, extreme poverty and lack of economic opportunity in the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – together known as the Northern Triangle. When these people decide to make the perilous, over 1,500-mile-long journey to the United States, they often need the help of these vast networks to make it happen. These smugglers earn nearly $2.3 billion in revenue each year.

They’re making the crisis worse by transporting people into our country illegally, while putting innocent lives at risk in the process.

We must make dismantling the infrastructure created by these human smugglers a national security priority. In June, 104,000 people were detained at our border. Almost every one of them had a phone number of a smuggler, a license plate of a bus that brought them here or a pickup location in their home country. We should be collecting this information and then use it to stop future operations.

Understanding and disabling these smuggling and trafficking networks should be a national intelligence priority.

These individuals threaten the security of the United States and the entire Western Hemisphere, and when it comes to stopping this crisis we need all hands on deck. This should include the men and women of our intelligence community. We must make sure that they maximize the use of their intelligence capabilities to disrupt and dismantle these dangerous operations.

Understanding these networks must be a national intelligence priority, and I’m proud that my bipartisan effort to make this a reality was passed out of the House last week.

I was proud to join fellow former CIA officer Representative Abigail Spanberger from Virginia in a bipartisan effort to make sure that stopping these bad actors is a national priority of the intelligence community. Solving our immigration crisis is always going to be a multi-front effort.

Ensuring facilities like Carrizo Springs and Clint are well-equipped while also knocking down the trails left by human smugglers are two of those fronts I’ve taken action on recently. I’ll continue to do all that I can to fight for the South and West Texas communities that are bearing the brunt of this crisis.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

***

El Paso Herald-Post welcomes all views and viewpoints.  To have your opinion heard, submit your letter to news@epheraldpost.com

 

Rep. Hurd addresses situation at Clint Border Patrol Station; CBP returns 100 children to facility

Republican Representative William Hurd addressed members of the Texas press Tuesday morning, placing blame for the situation at the Clint Border Patrol Station on his “friends on the other side of the aisle.”

Last week, Human Rights Watch lawyers found 255 children in deplorable conditions at the Clint Border Patrol Station outside of El Paso. 59 children were under the age of 12.

Representative Veronica Escobar, echoing the outrage and confusion of so many, posed the question, “Who will be held accountable for these atrocities?”

Hurd, who represents the 23rd district of Texas where the Clint Station sits, hasn’t personally visited the location – although members of his staff have.

He pointed out that the facility is “in essence no different than many of the other facilities on the border,” designed to hold a handful of people for a handful of hours, not hundreds of people for multiple days.

Hurd agreed that the Clint facility was over capacity, with not enough staff on hand. However, according to Hurd, there was baby formula and diapers on hand, as well as snacks and three meals a day.

The AP reported “inadequate food, water and sanitation” at Clint.

Escobar called the treatment of children at Clint “humanitarian abuses.” She has repeatedly called on Trump to take responsibility for the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers, recently tweeting:

Hurd, who is pushing Congress for a supplemental bill of 60 million to support border communities, said Tuesday that without Democrats placing additional funds with ICE or HHS, these issues will not be resolved.

“The reasons that you have problems with a facility that was not designed to do detention is because HHS (Health and Human Services) doesn’t have the capacity to take on additional kids. Clint and most facilities were not a detention facility – that is the broader problem,” said Hurd.

Additionally, Hurd pushed for faster deportations to keep holding centers from becoming overcrowded; stating, “people should be being deported within 21 days.”

As for the Clint station, Tuesday morning, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official shared that roughly 100 children were sent back to the Clint Border Patrol Station.

The official justified the action saying the initial movement of minors cleared the earlier reported overcrowding.   The official echoed a similar sentiment as Hurd, mentioning unlimited snacks as proof of fine conditions.

Meanwhile, the confusion on the border continues.

Military-style tents at the West Texas Detention Center in Sierra Blanca and the Ysleta Border Patrol Station in El Paso house migrants.

It is unclear to those questioning the conditions of these tents who is being housed where – especially as the MPP (Remain in Mexico) program continues to send more and more individuals back to Mexico.

Author/Photographer: Jordyn Rozensky – El Paso Herald Post

Op-Ed: Hurd on the Hill – Standing with Israel Against Terrorism

Sirens blaring loudly in the distance. Bright streaks of light in the sky. Deadly explosions seconds later. This is not a scene from a war movie. These are the sights and sounds in Israel today in 2019.

On the weekend of May 4th, Hamas and other terrorist groups fired more than 600 rockets into Israel from the Gaza strip. Their aim is to kill innocent civilians and sow chaos. But the Israelis have remained strong, and I am proud to stand behind our greatest ally in the Middle East.

I have made multiple trips to Israel and seen firsthand the threats they face every day. One of the most interesting places I visited was an Iron Dome facility in Southern Israel. Iron Dome is a missile defense system developed by the Israelis that has shot down thousands of rockets that might otherwise have landed in urban areas.

The system is so effective that is has an almost 90% success rate at stopping incoming rockets. That’s why the U.S. has provided significant security assistance to Israel to deploy more Iron Dome batteries. In the last two years, I have voted for $162 million in funding for this critical system that is protecting innocent lives every day in Israel.

I also remain committed to containing the aggressive ambitions of the Iranian regime. Make no mistake – the current regime in Tehran represents an existential threat to the State of Israel.

As a state sponsor of terror for decades, Iran has provided Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups targeting Israel with weapons, rockets and financial support that has been used to attack innocent civilians and destabilize the region.

I strongly support the Administration’s decision to withdraw from President Obama’s flawed nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose tough sanctions on the regime. Until the Iranian government stops backing terrorist groups, we cannot waver in our resolve to support Israel and our allies in the region against this malign regime.

The threats facing Israel’s security, however, go beyond violence in the region. Israel also faces a coordinated campaign to exclude the its people from the economic and cultural life of the rest of the world.

The Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel and isolate it from the community of nations by targeting both Israeli and foreign companies and institutions, solely because of their association with Israel.

The United States is a critical partner in a violent and turbulent region and must stand with Israel against this global movement, which is why I have joined my colleagues in supporting legislation that condemns the BDS movement and gives state and local governments new tools to fight back against these groups.

In the dangerous world facing the United States abroad, it is more important than ever that we support our friends and allies. Amid rocket attacks from terrorist groups, the threat posed by Iran and rising antisemitism around the world, the United States should continue to stand side-by-side with our brothers and sisters in Israel.

As your Representative, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure we do just that.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

Op-Ed: Hurd on the Hill: Fighting for our Parks

There’s no better time to go outside than Springtime. Here in the 23rd District of Texas, there’s also no better time to find your park, and you have eight incredible options to choose from across South and West Texas.

From the San Antonio Missions all the way to the Guadalupe Mountains out West, our national parks and historic sites offer immeasurable environmental, cultural and economic benefits across our communities.

As we celebrate the National Parks Conservation Association’s 100th anniversary and National Park Week from April 20-28, it’s a reminder to each of us to join in the fight to preserve and maintain our natural treasures for future generations of park-goers to enjoy.

It is a distinct honor to represent eight national parks and historic sites, including Big Bend National Park, the San Antonio Missions, Amistad National Recreation Area, the Fort Davis National Historic Site, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail and El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail.

That is also why it is a top priority of mine to do all that I can in Congress to fight for our parks.

This Congress, my colleagues and I have come together in a bipartisan manner to support our parks and historic sites by passing the Natural Resources Management Act, which brought together over 100 different initiatives by Republicans and Democrats to care for our natural treasures and make them more accessible.

A few of these measures include providing 4th graders with free access to national parks and other public lands through the Every Kid Outdoors Act, increasing access to federal lands for hunting and fishing and permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which has been vital for preserving state and national parks.

Since LWCF was established, our local parks have received millions in funding, including over $3.4 million at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, $8.6 million at the San Antonio Missions, $750,000 at Fort Davis National Historic Site, $950,000 at the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River, $589,000 to Big Bend and nearly $20,000 to Amistad.

I also helped introduced a bipartisan bill to reduce the massive backlog of deferred maintenance project across the National Parks System.

This backlog includes over $12 billion in maintenance projects, including repairing roads, visitor facilities and other park structures, leaky plumbing and more. In fact, in 2017 alone, national parks in Texas faced over $167 million in these deferred projects.

Over $100 million of this backlog was at Big Bend alone, with another $7 million at Amistad, $6.4 million at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, $2.8 million at Fort Davis National Historic Site and $6.9 million at the San Antonio Missions.

The Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act helps fix our parks by distributing currently unassigned federal mineral revenues back into a restoration fund to address this backlog. The funds can be used for overdue repairs so that our parks can remain beautiful and accessible for future generations of park-goers to enjoy.

I take great pride in our National Parks and will continue to protect them in Congress. Our South and West Texas national parks and historic sites are treasures we must protect for years to come.

With National Park Week upon us, I encourage you to experience these remarkable destinations for yourself.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

Op-Ed: Hurd on the Hill: Russia is a threat

Here’s something you won’t hear on cable news: Special Counsel Robert Mueller, our intelligence community and Republicans and Democrats in Congress all agree that Russia is a threat.

For over two years in Congress, I’ve fought for my friends in the intelligence community as a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Russia has been a primary focus of the Committee’s work because of repeated and persistent attempts by Vladimir Putin to challenge international norms and undermine the United States and our allies.

There’s no question that the Russians have meddled in our elections and will only continue to do so. Russia has one goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions – between the American people and our intelligence services, between our intelligence services and our legislative branch, between our legislative branch and our executive branch.

However, as you may know, media coverage of the Special Counsel’s investigation has not focused on getting to the bottom of how Russia meddled in our election and how we prevent this from happening ever again.

Two years ago, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence found no collusion or conspiracy between Russia and the President or his campaign.

For two years, Robert Mueller’s independent investigation left no stone unturned, costing $25 million, employing 19 attorneys and 40 FBI agents, issuing 2,800 subpoenas, executing nearly 500 search warrants and interviewing approximately 500 witnesses – and came to the same conclusion that there was no collusion.

For the last 22 months, the Intelligence Community has been the subject of unprecedented controversy and abuse – because some of its own senior most leaders failed in their professional duties and abused their power, and because some members of Congress abused their position to feed speculation, innuendo and conspiracies, without evidence, into the minds of the American public.

Russia continues to erode our democracy by exploiting our nation’s divisions, and continuing this partisan bickering only provides more fuel to the fire started by Putin’s covert influence campaign. We can’t fall into their trap of eroding trust in our democratic institutions and must instead work together to create a strategy to counter Russia’s covert influence operations.

I spent nine and a half years as an undercover officer in the CIA during the Global War on Terror. My job was to stop bad people from doing bad things in our homeland. Part of my job while serving in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India was to brief members of Congress on our intelligence operations, and I was alarmed by the lack of knowledge our Congressional leaders had on these important issues impacting the safety of the American people.

I couldn’t sit there and allow this problem to continue – I needed to do something about it. That’s when I decided to leave a job I loved and was good at to help our intelligence community in a different way – as a member of Congress. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure our adversaries cannot undermine trust in our democratic institutions and are held accountable for their actions.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

Hurd Joins House Intel Republicans to Call for Adam Schiff to Step Down as Committee Chairman

WASHINGTON, DC – Former undercover CIA officer U.S. Representative Will Hurd (TX-23), who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after joining Republican Committee Members to call for Chairman Adam Schiff to step down:

“Two years ago, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence found no collusion or conspiracy between Russia and President Trump and his campaign. For two years Mr. Mueller conducted an independent investigation that cost $25 million, employed 19 attorneys and 40 FBI agents, issued 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses – and came to the same conclusion that there was no collusion. And yet, for two years now Chairman Schiff has used his position on the House Intelligence Committee to knowingly spread a false narrative to television cameras that he had ‘more than circumstantial evidence’ of collusion.”

“Chairman Schiff’s behavior is not fit for the chair he occupies and I proudly stand with my colleagues on the committee to call for his resignation as Chairman of the Committee.”

Watch Rep. Hurd’s full remarks during Thursday’s hearing, here.  Read the letter sent by House Intel Republicans, here.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

Op-Ed: Hurd on the Hill: We must secure our Southern border

I have devoted the entirety of my adult life to keeping Americans safe. For nearly a decade, I served as an undercover officer in the CIA during the Global War on Terror.

My job was to stop bad people from doing bad things in our homeland.

Since being in Congress, I’ve made border security one of my top priorities. In fact, the very first bill I had signed into law prevented significant pay cuts for our Border Patrol Agents. I have also fought to increase funding for the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency responsible for protecting our borders.

Over the last four years, I’ve voted for $220 billion in funding to help provide more resources to the Department. Through my work, the House has passed funding for a diverse arsenal of tools to protect the southern border such as:

  • $8 billion for border infrastructure, which includes physical barriers and associated technology;
  • $18.7 billion for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement personnel;
  • $1 billion in improvements at our Ports of Entry; and,
  • $270 million in the last 2 years for the use of technology to detect border crossings.

What is happening at our border is a significant problem – 400,000 people attempted to come into our country illegally last year and over $67 billion worth of illegal drugs flowed into our communities. It’s 2019 and we still don’t have operational control of our border. When I say operational control I mean we should know everything that is coming back and forth across our border. We haven’t been able to achieve this ability because we haven’t been pursuing a strategy of focusing on all 2,000 miles of our border at the same time. We currently have 654 miles of physical barriers and Congress has funded the construction of 88 more miles.

Even the President emphasized that “We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea.” Because every mile of our border is different, requiring a different approach that accounts for the unique geographic, cultural and technological conditions along our border.

We need to be using all of our available resources, including: physical barriers in densely-populated areas, technology so we can track threats until the brave men and women of border patrol can conduct an arrest, and we need more men and women in Border Patrol.

As your Representative, and the Representative of over 820 miles of our U.S.-Mexico border, I have consistently supported bills and worked with my colleagues and folks back home to develop initiatives that keep you safe.

Border Security is critical to our national security, and I will continue to do everything in my power to protect the safety of communities in South and West Texas.

###

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development

Hurd on the Hill: Preserving our Veterans’ Stories

From the shores of Tripoli, to the beaches of Normandy, to the mountains of Afghanistan, the brave men and women of our Armed Forces have made countless sacrifices to ensure our freedom.

Our Constitution, our democracy, all that we honor and hold sacred has been made possible through their tireless service.

The stories of their service are written with friendship, hardship, fear, bravery, failure and triumph. Most are not showered in glory or immortalized in movies, but the experiences of our veterans compose the story of America. Some of their stories risk being lost to time. I wanted to do something about it.

Over the past year my team has crisscrossed the 29 counties I represent in South and West Texas to hear from our nation’s heroes, who were willing to share personal accounts of their experiences in the armed forces as part of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project. This project’s mission is to preserve veterans’ stories of their service for generations to come.

Over the duration of this effort, 23 veterans shared their stories about their time in uniform and service to our great nation. From fighting the Axis powers to ISIS, they paved the way for today’s servicemembers, some of which I was proud to work with during my time in the CIA.

Each of their stories will now be preserved in the world’s greatest centralized collection of human knowledge, the Library of Congress, so that future generations can hear directly from the brave men and women from the 23rd District of Texas who did their part to keep our nation safe.

Those who have answered the call to serve our country can be found all across TX-23. From Fort Bliss at the western edge, to Joint Base San Antonio and Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, it is a continuous source of pride to represent over 4,600 active-duty military and 45,000 military veterans across my district’s 29 counties and two time zones.

History is only one generation away from being forgotten. That’s why it is our job to preserve the stories of the brave service members in all corners of the globe, many in harm’s way, protecting the United States and our allies from threats to our way of life. Their quiet sacrifices and extraordinary acts of service will not be lost to time.

These stories will be available to the public on the Library of Congress’s website in the coming months. My office will also continue to collect the stories of our TX-23 veterans and gold-star families.

If you are a TX-23 veteran, or a gold-star family member, who would like to share the story of your fallen loved one for this project, please contact my office at 210-921-3130 or online.

###

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

Hurd on the Hill: Fostering College- and Career-Ready Students

As your Representative, one of my top priorities is making sure Congress enacts policies that create economic opportunity and give every family a chance at the American dream. Education is an essential part of these efforts. Without a well-educated workforce the next generation will be unable to take full advantage of the opportunities available in the 21st century economy.

Ensuring access to educational opportunities for Texans of all backgrounds strengthens our economy, drives innovation across all industries and allows folks to overcome socioeconomic challenges and create a better life for themselves and their families.

I understand the unique challenges South and West Texas students often face which is why I work hard with local officials to identify ways we can improve the eduation of our kids.  Educational opportunities are not limited just to what kids learn in the classroom. Services such as counseling, mentorship, tutoring and financial assistance are equally vital to ensuring students’ success.

That’s where Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) comes in. This competitive federal grant program provides funding for local organizations that offer students counseling, tutoring, mentoring and scholarships. By expanding access to these programs, GEAR UP helps bridge the educational attainment gap and prepare low-income students for college and their careers, starting as young as 6th or 7th grade and supporting them through their first year of college.

Funding from GEAR UP serves thousands of students throughout the 23rd District of Texas each and every day. More than 1,100 students in Alpine, Del Rio, Fort Davis, Fort Stockton, Marathon, Marfa, Presidio, and Terlingua are GEAR UP students.

In El Paso, students at 10 Ysleta Independent School District middle schools benefit from the program. Additionally, San Antonio ISD has received funding in the past and still serves many GEAR UP students. These counseling, tutoring and mentorship services supported by more than $3 million in GEAR UP funding each year will help prepare these South and West Texas students for success.

That’s why I’m proud that one of the first bills I’ve introduced in the 116th Congress is a bipartisan bill in the House to reauthorize GEAR UP, so South and West Texas students are prepared for success in high school, college and their careers. I am also grateful to my friend, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), for introducing this important bill in the Senate.

Additionally, I hope to use my new role as a member of the Appropriations Committee to secure robust funding for GEAR UP so that our school districts across TX-23 can compete for future grants.

I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that every student in Texas has an equal chance for success for generations to come.

For more information on my work for you in Congress, please sign up for my email list at hurd.house.gov and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube at @HurdontheHill.

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A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

Op-Ed: Hurd on the Hill – Fighting to Secure Our Border

Here in South and West Texas, border security is not an abstract issue. Every week meeting with folks across 29 counties of the 23rd District of Texas, securing our border and fixing our broken immigration system are frequent topics of conversation.

That’s because the border is our backyard, and what happens on the border impacts the daily lives of families across TX-23 communities.

Spending nearly a decade as an undercover officer in the CIA chasing bad guys, I learned to look at problems from every angle. My mindset is no different when it comes to finding a way to finally gain operational control of our southern border.

I represent more of the U.S.-Mexico border than any other Member of Congress, and I have seen firsthand that each mile of the border faces unique geographical, technological and cultural challenges that must be addressed using every tool at our disposal.

Physical barriers are one of these tools and work well in urban areas. However, in other areas, a combination of cutting edge sensors and surveillance technology is a more efficient use of resources.

These smart technologies would allow our most important border security resources, the men and women of Border Patrol, to identify illegal border crossings and deploy resources where they are needed. We also must respect the private property rights of landowners on the border, which would be threatened by eminent domain while building a physical barrier.

Gaining operational control of all 2,000 miles of our southern border will require a mile-by-mile approach that empowers Border Patrol to accomplish their goals using the best technology available.

Additionally, to secure our border long-term, we must address the root causes of mass migration.

Between 2012 and 2017, Border Patrol apprehensions on our southern border from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras nearly doubled due to rampant crime, violence and poverty. The challenges along our Southern border will only continue unless we actively work with Mexico and our allies in Central America to find shared solutions to combat human trafficking, drug smuggling and illegal immigration.

That’s why I visited the region last year to meet with Central American leaders understand root causes and the situation in these communities. We must identify shared solutions with our regional partners, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to support these solutions in Congress.

My colleagues have a lot of opinions about how we should secure our border, but no one knows more about the border than my bosses – the nearly 800,000 people I represent in TX-23.  The border is our backyard.

These are lessons I have learned by proactively listening to the concerns of constituents, local law enforcement, landowners and Border Patrol. Until we get it right, I will continue to fight for and carry this message to my colleagues in Congress.

***

A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Op-Ed: Hurd on the Hill: Preventing the Summer Slide

When I was in grade school, at least one teacher always had a sign in the classroom that said “reading is fundamental.” This is as true now as it was then. Learning how to read is a fundamental skill that can determine the course of one’s life. But you don’t have to take my word for it – the statistics speak for themselves.

According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school. As you might imagine, those at the lowest literacy levels have a higher rate of unemployment and earn lower wages than average. In addition, a staggering 75 percent of state prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate.

Beyond the obvious social devastation, low literacy costs the U.S. at least $225 billion every single year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.

To make matters worse, the problem is cyclical. Children that have parents with low literacy skills have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. Reading is fundamental for folks to earn an education, find a job and make a life for themselves.

Fortunately, if you are reading this, you’re likely not among the nearly 20% of adults in Texas who are at the lowest literacy level. However, you have an important role to play to ensure that our kids don’t slip into the summer slide, a nationwide trend showing that many students start the new academic year with lower reading skills than at the beginning of summer break.

In fact, a 2017 Brookings study found that on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning. The decline varies between subjects and ages, but the extent of loss is far greater among lower income students.

Overall, the summer slide can perpetuate years of unnecessary hardship for the next generation of Americans.

Together, it’s our job to change this trend so that every student in South and West Texas has a chance for success. That’s why I’m challenging parents and teachers from San Antonio to El Paso to encourage students to take on the TX-23 Summer Reading Surge and read five books this summer before school starts back up in the fall.

There are plenty of ways to keep kids on track with their reading while enjoying a nice summer with your family. For example, our public libraries offer invaluable resources for learning at all ages. Especially in this summer heat, our kids can travel around the world, to space, and to any land they can imagine just by turning a page.

What are you and your family reading this summer? I want to know. I encourage you to post your summer reading list on social media with the hashtag #SummerReadingSurge and be sure to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube at @HurdontheHill.

***

PERMALINK

 A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Hurd on the Hill: Fighting for Texas Seniors

Summer has officially arrived in the 23rd District of Texas, and with a Texas summer, we can all expect some pretty hot temperatures from San Antonio to El Paso.

The summer months tend to come with thoughts of school out, family vacations, relaxing by the water with friends and family. And while schools work hard to ensure our kids are well-fed during and in-between the school year, one thing we might forget about in the summer months is making sure our parents and grandparents have access to meals as well.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to serve meals to seniors through Meals on Wheels in San Antonio. Every weekday, Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers nutritious meals, a courteous visit and compassionate support to tens of thousands of homebound Texas seniors through partnerships with local organizations.

Meal delivery services like Meals on Wheels allow so many individuals to be healthy and independent in their own homes and I’m proud to have supported an increase in funding for meal delivery programs that serve so many of our parents and grandparents.

One of the things I’ve heard time and time again while meeting with seniors across Texas is that accessing medical care, especially in rural areas, is a real problem.

That’s why over the last three years, I have remained committed to protecting the benefits that seniors have earned so that they can rely on them for years to come. Since 2015, I’ve consistently opposed proposed Medicare cuts, sometimes that would have cut billions of dollars in benefits. Along with preventing cuts, I’ve protected Medicare Advantage – the program that my own parents depend on – from termination and have helped expanded access to care, including increased coverage for Medicare Part B recipients.

I’ve also supported legislation that permanently repealed the Medicare payment cap for therapy services, permanently extended the Special Needs Plan in Medicare Advantage, and expanded the ability for all patients to use telemedicine coverage, including stroke patients and recipients of dialysis – a big win for many seniors in rural communities who are homebound because of health conditions.

In addition, I have supported legislation that develops a National Family Caregiving strategy to recognize and support family caregivers and their needs.

There are also 39 wonderful Community Health Centers in my district that provide cost-effective services, from primary care to preventative screenings, and are vital to the health and wellness of thousands of my constituents. Since 2015, I’ve visited many of these clinics and am particularly proud to have helped them receive more than $30 million in federal grant funding so that they can continue their important work.

Previous generations helped build our nation, and they deserve the benefits they worked hard to earn. I will continue to stand tall for our South and West Texas seniors. If you or someone you know is having trouble navigating the burdensome federal bureaucracy to receive Medicare and Social Security, know that I have caseworkers from San Antonio to El Paso who have helped more than 200 individuals battle these bureaucracies on their behalf. We are here to help.

Please don’t hesitate to call my office at 210-921-3130 for support. And to find a local meal delivery program in your community, visit mealsonwheelsamerica.org.

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A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Congressman Will Hurd Helps Lead Push to Force House Vote on Immigration Bills

WASHINGTON — Fed up with a long stretch of inaction on immigration in the U.S. House, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, and some of his Republican colleagues declared Wednesday that they’ll try to force the House to vote on a series of bills addressing the status of undocumented immigrants brought into the country while they were children, among other immigration measures.

Hurd, along with a small group of other moderate Republicans, introduced what’s known as a discharge petition Wednesday that would effectively force Speaker Paul Ryan to bring four immigration bills to the House floor for a vote as early as June. GOP leadership has previously declined to do so.

If the measure is signed by a majority of House members, the legislation can bypass the committee process that is required for most bills.

At a news conference Wednesday, Hurd said it’s urgent for the House to address the concerns of millions of young undocumented people in the U.S. In 2012, President Barack Obama implemented a policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that protects from deportation some undocumented immigrants brought here as children. But President Donald Trump has tried to dismantle the program, saying it should be up to Congress to act on the issue.

“These are men and women who have contributed to our economy,” Hurd said at the press conference. “They have contributed to our history. These are people who are Americans, and they need a permanent legislative fix.”

At least 25 Republicans, along with the entire House Democratic delegation, must sign on to the measure to reach the necessary 218 votes. Fifteen House Republicans — including U.S. Rep Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania, whose tenure ends this week — have already done just that.

“We feel very good today,” said U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida. “I think [the 15 signatures] exceeds all of our expectations, so we think we’re on our way.”

The petition takes advantage of a little-known provision known as the “queen of the hill” rule, which allows a series of bills to compete with one another. The bill that collects the biggest majority of votes is the one that passes.

In this case, Hurd and his colleagues want to bring four bills to the floor, including “The U.S.A. Act” co-authored by Hurd and U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-California. Hurd’s plan provides protection for DACA beneficiaries and beefs up border security measures.

The other bills up for debate under the “queen of the hill” plan include a conservative measure authored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, and the DREAM Act of 2017, the favored plan of House Democrats. Goodlatte’s bill offers temporary status to DACA recipients alongside increased border security and deep cuts to legal immigration, while the DREAM Act offers a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants without increased immigration enforcement measures. Ryan would decide the fourth bill up for debate.

House Republican leadership, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, have already expressed displeasure with the discharge petition. The reaction was not surprising to the members behind the measure.

But Curbelo said the petition is “deferential” to leadership because it gives Ryan an opportunity to craft his own legislative solution.

“Leadership, no matter the party, is never going to support a discharge petition,” Curbelo said. “We truly believe that this process actually empowers them because it allows every member to have a role in the immigration debate.”

Republicans supporting the measure stressed that the petition is not an endorsement of any one immigration bill, but of bringing those bills to the floor for debate. Hurd said that this is the House’s chance to act.

“No matter what your ideological views on this topic are, everybody should have a debate,” Hurd said. “I’m glad that there are an intrepid few that are willing to take this step to force this broader conversation.”

Author: HALEY SAMSEL – The Texas Tribune

Hurd on the Hill: Energy Security is National Security

Folks in the 23rd District know well that West Texas energy fuels our economy. In fact, the Texas portion of the Permian Basin alone provides more than 444,000 jobs, contributes more than $60.2 billion to the Gross State Product of Texas and generates $113.6 billion in economic output for local communities.

What’s equally as important is that energy security is national security. Many folks don’t realize the hardworking Texans getting in their trucks each morning to work on nearby rigs or at refineries are doing much more than earning a paycheck – they are playing an important role protecting our nation from threats abroad. Here’s why:

Due to the discovery of significant reserves across the United States, including the Permian Basin, the nation has ramped up domestic oil production. In doing so, we have reduced our dependence on other oil producing nations while concurrently securing and improving our economy.

Countries across the globe are now looking to the United States to supply energy, ultimately diminishing the influence of other countries, such as Russia, on the industry. It is exciting that TX-23 is ground zero for North American energy dominance and so many hardworking Texans have a hand in our foreign policy by simply doing their jobs.

Recently, I spent a week in West Texas with employers, constituents and energy stakeholders to see their contributions firsthand in the Delaware Basin, a portion of the Permian Basin that spans across Culberson, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Reeves, Ward and Winkler Counties.  I started my trip in Orla where I visited a new natural gas processing plant. With more than $250 million invested to ensure the safe and responsible development of this facility, more jobs for the hardworking folks in TX-23 are on the way.

In addition to hosting an energy roundtable in Fort Stockton, a town hall in Monahans and visiting facilities in Balmorhea and Pecos, I toured the site of a new refinery outside of Fort Stockton.

This will be the first project of its kind built in the United States in 47 years. The refinery operator chose Fort Stockton because of the available land, access to natural resources and the South Orient-Texas Pacifico railroad that travels to Mexico through the border town of Presidio.

My office worked with Texas Department of Transportation to secure grant funding to begin fixing an ailing rail line and the Presidio rail bridge that previously burned in a fire.  It is particularly rewarding to see this private-sector investment in our community that will help grow jobs in the area and improve the economy.

The United States is a global powerhouse due to so many Texans who support the energy industry right here in our backyard. West Texas energy fuels our economy, fosters thousands of local jobs and allows us to bolster our national security by relying less on other oil-producing countries for natural resources. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues in our nation’s capital to create pro-growth policies to ensure South and West Texas continues to thrive.

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A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Hurd on the Hill: Our Farmers & Families Win with NAFTA

This week is deemed National Agriculture Week and we in the 23rd District of Texas are certainly grateful for the hard work of farmers and ranchers year-round.

Folks in the agriculture industry toil around the clock to produce goods that we consume every day from the clothes on our backs to the food on our tables. The industry supports more than 3.75 million Texas jobs paying $160 billion in wages and we simply cannot overstate its importance on our economy.

Many folks aren’t aware of the benefits of trade for Texas agriculture. In 2016, Texas exported $11.3 billion in total food and agriculture goods, and more than 40 percent went to NAFTA partners. While there’s no question that we need to modernize NAFTA to account for evolving industries and emerging technology, scrapping the deal altogether would be particularly harmful for Texas farmers and ranchers.

For example, one sector that benefits immensely from trade with our Northern and Southern neighbors is beef. Texas cattlemen and women sell roughly $338 million in beef to Mexico every year – approximately 35 percent of all American beef and veal exports are to Mexico alone. Similarly, total US beef exports to Canada and Mexico have almost tripled since NAFTA was signed.

This is why Texas raises more calves than anywhere in the United States and is the 14th largest cattle producing region in the world. Without unfettered access to Mexican and Canadian markets, Texas’ $10.5 billion beef industry would take a major hit.

Our cotton growers have also benefitted tremendously from free trade with Mexico and Canada. Mexico is a reliable and important market for U.S. cotton fiber, buying one million bales each year. Mexico is also our country’s second largest cotton textile and apparel market, buying fifteen percent of the nation’s total exports.

Likewise, Canada and Mexico accounted for almost 20 percent of U.S. fresh fruit exports and roughly 65 percent of fresh vegetable exports, totaling $7.2 billion. Unsurprisingly, when Mexico applied temporary tariffs to some of our produce in 2009, those industries lost $65 million that season. For Texas farmers, this demonstrates the direct correlation between free trade and economic growth.

In a lecture in 1970 when he won the Noble Prize, agronomist Norman Borlaug said, “Civilization as it is known today could not have evolved, nor can it survive, without an adequate food supply.” In my district, over 9,000 farms and ranches employing thousands of hard-working people ensure our civilization is continuing to evolve.

In order for them to continue this vital task they need access to new markets, which is why I will continue to advocate for a modernized NAFTA. Agriculture is critical to our economy and its critical to our survival.

We should all have the backs of the hardworking folks that do this noble work.

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A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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