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GOP’s Tough Crime Package

Proposal includes crackdown on child predators, Internet crimes

REPUBLICANS HAVE COUNTERED the Democrats “first 100 hours” agenda with a legislative package to fight drug crime, gang violence and child pornography, which includes taking aim at illegal aliens involved in all three.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee criticized Democrats for failing to address the issue. “If you listened very carefully, there was a deafening silence when it came to dealing with violent crime,” said Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.).

Democrats gave top priority to implementing the Baker-Hamilton Commission’s recommendations on the Iraq war, raising the minimum wage and increasing funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), ranking minority member, said he expects bipartisan support. “Crime is simply too important to leave to partisan politics,” he said.

The Republican Law and Order Agenda, formally introduced Feb. 7, lists nine proposals. Several passed in the House in previous Congresses but died in the Senate. They include making the Internet safer for children, targeting identity theft and other cyberspace crimes and reducing fraudulent claims with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They also give law enforcement more tools to crackdown on drug trafficking and gang crime.

Republicans said gang problems are inextricably related to an increase in the number of illegal aliens, and stressed the need for strengthening border protection. They would require the death penalty for terrorist killers.

“One thing is crystal clear: If we are going to do anything about the skyrocketing murder rate, we have to break the back of drug traffickers,” said Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.), whose hometown of Orlando has recorded a 122% increase in the homicide rate.

His bill would impose “stiff penalties” on drug dealers, many of whom enter illegally across the Mexican border.

(Issue #9, February 17, 2006)

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Updated February 17, 2007