Last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced a bill to extend customs waters from 12 miles off the U.S. coast to 24 miles.
Scott insisted his “Extending Limits of U.S. Customs Waters Act” would increase public safety, pointing to information from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that “double the amount of fentanyl has been brought into the country compared to last year – killing thousands of Americans in part due to growing trafficking activity in surrounding waters.”
On Thursday, Scott weighed in on the bill.
“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,” Scott said.
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is the only co-sponsor so far.
“We’re expanding law enforcement agencies’ ability to stop drug and human traffickers, helping keep communities across our country safe and secure,” she said.
The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.