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Pfluger Leads Congressional Delegation Trip to Latin America to Investigate Threats to U.S. National Security

Pfluger Leads Congressional Delegation Trip to Latin America to Investigate Threats to U.S. National Security

WASHINGTON, DC — As Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Subcommittee, U.S. Representative August Pfluger (TX-11) led a Congressional Delegation trip to Latin America to examine the impacts of the immigration crisis and transnational criminal organizations on U.S. national security as well as an examination of the Chinese Communist Party’s growing influence in the region.

Notably, the members visited the Darién region—the lawless rainforest jungle on the border of Colombia and Panama. The region is one of the world’s most dangerous migrant routes fraught with sexual assaults, robberies, killings, and extreme natural conditions. Over 200,000 migrants have traversed this dangerous route in the first six months of 2023 alone, a massive jump from the less than 100,000 that crossed in six years between 2015-2021.

Photos and b-roll of the trip can be downloaded here.

Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11): “I was proud to lead a bipartisan delegation of members on an official visit to Latin America—Brazil, Colombia, and Panama—to examine the very real threats to U.S. national security stemming from these regions. As Chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, I have focused our efforts on uncovering threats to the homeland from all angles—including transnational criminal organizations in Latin America, the rising threat of the Chinese Communist party, and of course human and drug trafficking through our southern border. Our visit provided a direct look into the epicenter of many of these threats—and my eyes are opened.

“In the Darién region of Panama, we met with migrants who had just made it out of the harrowing rainforest jungle. They all told me that they were headed for the United States because they believed the border is open under the Biden Administration. It was heartbreaking to see and learn about the murders, sexual and physical assaults, robberies, drug and human trafficking, and deaths that happen in this lawless region. It was heartbreaking to see a four-year-old boy with open wounds all over his legs, pregnant mothers, and young girls covered in cuts and bruises from the dangerous trek.

“In Colombia, we met with the Colombian National Police Director, General William Salamanca, and other high-ranking officials to underscore the importance for cooperation on combating against the illicit drug trade, migrant smuggling, and criminal organizations. Similarly, in Brazil, we met with the Federal Police, Vice Admiral Gilberto Kerr, and other senior-level officials to discuss efforts to mitigate and disrupt the nefarious activities posed by criminal organizations.”

“Another equally concerning issue we examined is the rising threat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the region. The CCP is pouring resources and trade into the area to exert their influence and undermine the United States. In fact, we know that Chinese nationals are traveling to South America as the first stop on their journey to illegally enter America.”

“I am more motivated than ever in calling on the Biden Administration to reverse their open-border policies and rhetoric that are emboldening hundreds of thousands of migrants to make the life-threatening journey through this area every year. We cannot ignore the massive security crisis that awaits on our doorstep.”