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Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act of 2019

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 16, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GONZALEZ of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of S. 2174, the Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act, which gives local law enforcement the tools they need to address a devastating issue that is draining resources in rural communities in south Texas and across the southwest border.

Border communities are currently shouldering the cost of identifying and recovering the remains of migrants who tragically perished while migrating to the United States. This affects our citizens, ranchers, and farmers.

The Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act is a bipartisan, bicameral effort that will give local law enforcement access to Federal dollars and will help free up local resources for rural healthcare, education, broadband, and other key services that are, tragically, needed in these areas.

This is a critical bill to help address issues that are symptomatic of a larger problem. Unless we invest time and resources to address the root cause of migration from Central America, we will continue to witness these tragic deaths in our border region.

Mr. Speaker, I thank Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez, Jim Hogg County Sheriff Erasmo Alarcon, Jr., and Duval County Sheriff Romeo Ramirez, to name a few. These men have been on the front lines of this issue and continue their work to identify who has died.

I also acknowledge the Southern Border Communities Coalition, the Church World Services, and the Texas Civil Rights Project for their work to raise awareness about this issue and help build support for this bill. Without the support of this large cross section of stakeholders, we would not be here passing this legislation today.

For the families that have lost their loved ones, this bill is an opportunity to bring closure. I know many of you may not find the answers you seek, but there is a much better chance because of this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, in recognition of the bipartisan support for this bill, I request that all my colleagues vote in support of this important effort.

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