Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) introduced H.R. 1277, the Southern Borderlands Public Safety Communications Act, at the request of the office of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

This bill continues our efforts to enhance security on the border region by improving communications," said Poe. It was very obvious to me during my recent visit to Southern Arizona that there are too many areas where cell phones simply do not work. We have the same problem in parts of Texas. Congresswoman Giffords and I believe that if the Federal Government is not going to protect its citizens who live in fear each day on the border, the least it can do is give them the resources to call for help if they are in danger.

This legislation is the result of a problem that Congresswoman Giffords has been working to address since the March 2010 murder of one of her constituents, rancher Rob Krentz. It authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to make grants available for public-private partnerships that finance equipment and infrastructure to improve the public safety of persons who are residents of rural areas of the United States-Mexico border by enhancing access to mobile communications.

It has been reported that Rob Krentz was in an area with no cell phone service when he was attacked by suspected drug smugglers. His killer remains at large.

This bill will provide people in remote areas in this region a way to call for help, said Poe, who worked with Giffords last year on a resolution to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexico border.

Gary Thrasher, a rancher in Arizona expressed strong support for this bill: Congresswoman Giffords office and Congressman Poe are showing that we all can work together to improve border security, said Thrasher. Every member of Congress who likes to talk tough about border security should support this bill. It represents a practical solution to a real problem that ranchers and rural residents have had to deal with for far too long.

Giffords represents Arizonas 8th Congressional District in the southeastern corner of the state. The district has a 114-mile border with Mexico and has been particularly hard hit by the flow of illegal drugs and immigrants into the United States.

Giffords has been a champion of tougher border security since she took office in January 2007. More information is available on her website:

Prior to serving in Congress, Congressman Poe served as a prosecutor and judge in Houston, Texas, for 30 years and holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center.For more information on Congressman Poe, including numerous statements and speeches on his stance on healthcare reform, please visit our website: