Filemon Vela

Representing the 34 District of Texas

Homeland Security

As a former member of the Committee on Homeland Security, which is responsible for oversight of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, I have a deep understanding of the tools and strategies necessary to keep our country safe and secure. During my time as the senior Democratic Member on the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, I worked to ensure that the concerns and issues important to South Texas had a voice in federal legislation and policies, particularly those relating to customs, border security, and immigration, and trade.

In the 116th Congress, my goal remains to advocate for smart and effective policy that protects our Southern border and the country. As one of the only districts in the United States with land, air, and sea ports, I continue to work with numerous Federal agencies to upgrade facilities and ensure that people and goods can continue to move safely and efficiently. Coordinating with local and federal officials has been critical to ensure commercial traffic can cross at the Donna-Rio Bravo Bridge, to provide upgrades to the infrastructure of Veterans Bridge and Gateway Bridge, to expand the capacity at Los Indios Bridge, and to ensure that Pharr Bridge has the infrastructure as well as the agriculture officials necessary to move the tons of produce that cross each day. 

I also continue to oppose harmful measures like the border wall, which negatively impacts the wildlife of the Rio Grande Valley and the rights of private landowners. The border wall is the embodiment of hateful and misinformed rhetoric used to describe our neighbor Mexico, and Americans of Mexican descent. Efforts to increase security on our borders must take a balanced approach that includes investing in international ports of entry.  It is critical that we expand resources for infrastructure, equipment, and personnel needed at our ports to ensure that goods and travelers entering this country can do so quickly and efficiently while halting the flow of drugs and other contraband.  This is particularly important when considering that last year alone, U.S. trade with Mexico reached over $500 billion and impacted every U.S. state. I will continue to elevate cross border commerce which is a source of economic growth for South Texas.