Mr. DEAL of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, the amendment that I have at the desk relates to the growing problem of lack of extradition of criminals who committed violent offenses in the United States and then flee across our borders and are not able to be returned by way of extradition.
This is a growing problem. It is a problem for a country such as ours that now has an estimated 11 million people illegally in our country. Mexico to our south has become a point of refuge. Many of the individuals who are committing these offenses are committing them and immediately fleeing to their home country of Mexico.
Some are not quite so quick. Some are offenses such as the one we have heard in a previous amendment as it relates to the killing of a police officer in the line of duty, but it is a growing concern for all of the citizens of the States of this country and one that I think we need to begin to point a finger at.
This amendment says that if you refuse to extradite for an offense that would have a life imprisonment or less, then if funds flow through the State Department, those funds would be withheld if they are refusing to extradite.
Let me give my colleagues a scenario. Let us assume that you have two men who rape and brutally murder a 4-year-old child. One is a citizen of the United States. The other one is a citizen of Mexico who is illegally in the country. Both flee across the border to Mexico. The district attorney or the prosecutor in the circuit indicts them, and of course, in those kind of cases, they face either life imprisonment or, in some cases, capital punishment. Mexico will extradite the United States citizen
back here. They will not extradite the Mexican citizen back unless the prosecutor agrees to lower the offense to a crime that would be less than a life sentence.
Now, that is a hypothetical case. I will allude to the facts as they now exist in my community in a few minutes.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King), my colleague.
Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding me time and for bringing this amendment to the floor.
This is a discussion and debate that this country needs to have, and it takes me back to about 6 weeks ago when the incident in Denver where the alleged shooter, Raul Gomez-Garcia, shot Officer Donny Young in the back of the head and killed him and wounded another officer. We suspected that he would abscond to the sanctuary of Mexico and he did, and the plea bargain has already taken place. I am not certain if he is back in the United States under that plea bargain; but this policy, this sanctuary
policy that exists in Mexico is a policy that requires us to plea bargain down the crimes in this country and tells the shooters, you can shoot and run to Mexico.
I will pose a hypothetical situation, but it is one that could happen.
Just suppose Osama bin Laden was picked up by Mexican police in Mexico City. There is no way that Mexico extradites Osama bin Laden to the United States until we plea bargain that down to something less than life imprison, no capital punishment, no life in prison. Can my colleagues imagine sitting on the parole board for Osama bin Laden and having to release him into the streets of the United States of America because of a sanctuary policy that exists in the state of Mexico?
That is the leverage that is out there now, and we are paying for these countries in foreign operations money to alter the crime and punishment policy in the United States. That must stop. It can stop with the Deal amendment.
Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment, and yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, we just dealt with another amendment that, in a similar way, tried to criticize at the country of Mexico for the problems that we have with extradition, and during that debate, I think I outlined what I think has been the rather substantial improvement in the cooperation that we have had with Mexico on this issue.
During the first 14 years of the extradition treaty with Mexico, from 1980 to 1994, Mexico extradited, a total of eight fugitives to the United States. In the next 4 years, they extradited an average each year of 13. But in the last 4 years, in 2001 they indicted 17; in 2002, 25; in 2003, 31; and in 2004, they extradited a record of 34 fugitives to the United States. So I think there is little doubt that we have great cooperation.
The problem I have with the amendment offered by the gentleman from Georgia is it is not at all clear to whom this applies. I asked the gentleman, and he is not sure. We have asked the Department of State, and they are not sure. I know what his intention is and the country he is trying to effect, but we do not know it does not apply to other countries. There may well be other countries that it applies to.
I cannot say, for example, with certainty that this would not require us to cut off all of our counternarcotics efforts in Colombia. I am not sure it would not have some impact on a country like that. It could have an impact in Afghanistan. I do not know. Nobody seems to know for sure what the impact of this might be.
So for that reason, Mr. Chairman, I would suggest, and until we have a much clearer idea of how this would impact, I would urge that we not adopt this amendment and that it be defeated.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.