March 23, 2021

Grassley Joins Bipartisan Bill to Protect U.S. Law Enforcement Serving Abroad

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today joined his colleagues to introduce the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Law Enforcement Protection Act, a bill to ensure individuals who have killed or attempted to kill U.S. federal officers and employees serving abroad can be brought to justice and prosecuted in the United States.
 
“Federal officers lost while serving our nation abroad should be entitled to the same justice that they’d receive while serving our nation at home. This bill clarifies that those who do harm to our federal public servants will face the consequences in an American court of law, regardless of where their crimes occurs,” Grassley said.   
 
The bill is named for U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila, who were attacked by Mexican drug cartels in San Luis Potosi, Mexico on February 15, 2011. Special Agent Zapata died from his injuries, and although his murderers were apprehended, last year a federal appeals court dismissed the murder convictions on the basis that the district court did not have jurisdiction over the crimes committed against law enforcement stationed overseas.
 
The Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Law Enforcement Protection Act would clarify that federal officers and employees serving overseas are protected, and that U.S. courts may try their attackers in a U.S. court of law.
 

This legislation is led by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) and also cosponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).