The Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas Equal and Fair Opportunity Settlement Act has been passed unanimously by the House of Representatives. The bill, introduced by US Representatives Will Hurd and Brian Babin, allows the federally-recognized tribes Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo in El Paso and the Alabama-Couchatta in Livingston justice and fair treatment under law.

Passing this bill allows the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo to legally operate Class II Gaming at Speaking Rock Entertainment Center in El Paso, said a statement from Hurd’s office. The revenue earned from this Center, it noted, would help finance infrastructure projects, provide hundreds of jobs and enrich the lives of the Pueblo.

Michael Silvas, Governor, Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo, commented: “The people of the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo are grateful to Congressman Hurd for his commitment to our rights for sovereignty and self determination. We are proud to be an economic engine for El Paso, and we thank Congressman Hurd for his hard work to allow us to continue to support our community.”

Cecelia Flores, Tribal Council Chairwoman, Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, added: “I am pleased House Resolution 759 unanimously passed the United States House of Representatives. This would not have happened without the steadfast leadership provided by both Congressmen Brian Babin and Will Hurd, whose tireless efforts made it possible.” 

Hurd, speaking in support of HR 759, said: “As a Representative with more tribes in their district than any other Texan, it is my solemn obligation to fight on behalf of Texas’ native people. I am a proud Texan, there is no greater State in the Union, no prouder people than we Texans and for all the blessings bestowed upon the Lone Star state, we still fall short in our efforts of providing true economic stability to our Native American Tribes.

“HR 759 is not about whether one agrees or disagrees with gambling. This bill isn’t about gambling. It’s about letting two tribes in two of Texas’ most economically distressed zones engage in what every other tribe in America engages in. This bill would allow these two tribes in Texas to do bingo. That’s it. Not blackjack. Not poker. Not Craps. Just Bingo. For too long, the Alabama Coushatta and Tigua tribes have been prevented from achieving self-sufficiency. It is time we right this wrong.”