Senators Rick Scott & Kyrsten Sinema Introduce Legislation to Crack Down on Drug and Human Trafficking

October 21, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Rick Scott and Kyrsten Sinema introduced the bipartisan Extending Limits of U.S. Customs Waters Act to extend the customs waters territory of the United States from 12 to 24 nautical miles from the baselines of the United States, allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO) and the U.S. Coast Guard the jurisdiction necessary to keep American families safe from drug and human traffickers. Law enforcement across the nation have reported how the growing drug crisis is hurting families. According to CBP data, 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.


Senator Rick Scott said, “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.” 


Senator Kyrsten Sinema said, “We’re expanding law enforcement agencies’ ability to stop drug and human traffickers, helping keep communities across our country safe and secure.”


The Extending Limits of U.S. Customs Waters Act:

  • Would formally extend the law enforcement authorities of CPB/AMO and codify the U.S. Coast Guard maritime authority in U.S. Customs Waters from 12 nautical miles to 24 nautical miles.
    • This bill would update a number of existing laws, and codify the 1999 Presidential Proclamation 7219—The Contiguous Zone of the United States, which formally established the United States’ contiguous zone from the 12 nautical mile limit of the U.S. Customs Waters to 24 nautical miles. By extending jurisdiction into the near shore waters and doubling the area of operation, AMO, USCG, and other federal authorities can properly enforce U.S. customs, fiscal and sanitary laws at sea.