U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) today released the following statements after their bill to honor the fallen U.S. Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega, Jr. for his service by renaming the Border Patrol checkpoint where he was assigned, along U.S. Highway 77 North in Sarita, Texas, after him passed the U.S. Senate:
“Agent Vega devoted his life to serving his nation, making the ultimate sacrifice while protecting his family and community,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Senate passage of this bill brings us one critical step closer to honoring his extraordinary service and sacrifice by renaming the checkpoint in Sarita.”
“Agent Javier Vega should be remembered as a hero,” Sen. Cruz said. “I am grateful for my colleagues’ support in this effort to recognize and honor Agent Vega’s life of service and sacrifice. We will never forget his deep devotion to the safety and security of his family, the state of Texas, and this nation.”
Agent Vega was fishing in Raymondville, Texas exactly three years ago on August 3, 2014 when he was murdered while protecting his family from two individuals suspected of ties to transnational organized crime. Agent Vega’s death was not immediately classified as a line of duty fatality, even though he was responding to a clear violation of law at the time of his death.
Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Vela (TX-34) sent a letter on October 30, 2015, and again with U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul (TX-10) and John Carter (TX-31) on September 16, 2016, urging U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske to reclassify Agent Vega’s death to allow his family to receive the corresponding benefits afforded public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty. On September 21, 2016, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the decision to reclassify Agent Vega’s death as a line of duty fatality.