DearColleague.us

Letter

Edward Markey

From the office of:

Edward Markey

From: The Committee on Foreign Affairs – Minority Staff
Sent By: Eric.Jacobstein@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/20/2015

DEADLINE: 12 pm on Monday, March 23rd

Current Signers (12): Engel, Clarke, Hastings, Meeks, Pierluisi, Jackson Lee, Lewis, Rangel, Gutierrez, Brown, Sires, Waters
Dear Colleague:
We write to ask you to join us in sending a letter to Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Lowey requesting that $64 million in funding be provided for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) in the FY 2016 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill. While CBSI received approximately $64 million in FY 2015, the President requested $53.5 million for FY 2016.
Given the Caribbean’s location between the drug-producing nations of South America and our country (which unfortunately creates a large portion of the demand for illegal drugs), the region is particularly susceptible to the drug trade. CBSI has been crucial in helping our partners in the Caribbean improve their capacity to combat crime and violence. We believe that maintaining CBSI funding in FY 2016 at the FY 2015 level is essential.
Please join us in signing onto this letter (text below) by contacting Eric Jacobstein with Rep. Engel by 12 pm on Monday, March 23rd. Thank you very much for your attention to this important matter.
Sincerely,
Eliot L. Engel
Ranking Member
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Yvette Clarke
Member of Congress
Alcee Hastings
Member of Congress
Gregory W. Meeks
Member of Congress
Text of Letter:
Dear Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Lowey:
As you prepare the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill, we write to urge you to provide $64 million in funding for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI). While CBSI received approximately $64 million in FY 2015, the President requested $53.5 million for FY 2016. Given the Caribbean’s location between the drug-producing nations of South America and our country (which unfortunately creates a large portion of the demand for illegal drugs), the region is particularly susceptible to the drug trade. CBSI has been crucial in helping our partners in the Caribbean improve their capacity to combat crime and violence. We believe that maintaining CBSI funding in FY 2016 at the FY 2015 level is essential.
At the 2009 Summit of the Americas, President Obama announced the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. From FY 2010 through FY 2014, an estimated $327 million in CBSI funding provided key support in five main areas: (1) maritime and aerial security cooperation; (2) law enforcement capacity building; (3) border/port security and firearms interdiction; (4) justice sector reform; and (5) crime prevention and programs for at-risk youth.
Drug trafficking organizations continue to shift to the Caribbean making CBSI more important than ever. In its January 2015 Caribbean Border Counternarcotics Strategy, the Office of National Drug Control Policy explains this phenomenon:
“Enhanced enforcement efforts along the Central America/Mexico corridor and on the U.S. Southwest border as well as the ongoing violence between rival transnational criminal organizations in Mexico may be contributing to the shift to more efficient, presumably less troublesome Caribbean routes.”
In addition, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), crime and violence is on the rise in the Caribbean. CRS reports that “Homicide rates in several Caribbean countries have increased in recent years because of gangs and organized crime, competition between drug trafficking organizations, and the availability of firearms.”
The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative provides a great deal of bang for its buck for U.S. taxpayers. We urge you to provide $64 million for CBSI in the FY 2016 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill. We greatly appreciate your consideration of this request.
Sincerely,