Sinema Introduces Bipartisan Bill Helping Stop Flow of Drugs and Human Trafficking

Oct 21, 2021

Senator’s legislation expands law enforcement authorities of U.S. Customs & Border Protection and U.S. Coast Guard to combat the flow of drugs and human trafficking

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Rick Scott (Fla.) introduced bipartisan legislation expanding the law enforcement authorities of the U.S. Customs & Border Protection and U.S. Coast Guard from 12 to 24 nautical miles in the customs waters of the United States. The Senators’ bipartisan legislation strengthens America’s efforts to interdict and stop the flow of drugs and human trafficking into America, keeping families safe and secure.
“We’re expanding law enforcement agencies’ ability to stop drug and human traffickers, helping keep communities across our country safe and secure,” said Sinema.
“The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations keeps families in Florida and around our nation safe by patrolling the beaches, shore waters and maritime territory, conducting search and rescue operations and intercepting vessels transporting illegal drugs and the victims of human trafficking. Our state is safe and secure because of the hard work and sacrifices our brave men and women in uniform make to defend our coastline. My bill, the Extending U.S. Customs Waters Act will extend the United States’ customs waters territory to help ensure our Coast Guard has the jurisdiction and authority needed to cut down on drug and human trafficking so that families everywhere remain safe. I am thankful for the bipartisan support and I urge all my colleagues to support this important bill,” said Scott.

Currently, Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard can only patrol for illegal activity within 12 nautical miles of the U.S. coastline, putting law enforcement vessels at a severe disadvantage, often preventing them from capturing escaping vessels. Sinema’s legislation allows law enforcement to operate out to 24 nautical miles to increase detection, interdiction, and prosecution of criminals attempting to bring illegal drugs and human trafficking victims into the United States.