Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved by voice vote the Amber Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017 (H.R. 2666).

The AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act, introduced by Congressman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), helps ensure Native American children are afforded the same protections as the rest of the country in the event of an abduction. Specifically, the bill clarifies that Indian tribes are eligible for Department of Justice (DOJ) grants that help assemble AMBER Alert systems for law enforcement agencies.

Additionally, the AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act reauthorizes the DOJ grant program that assists state and local governments in developing and implementing AMBER Alert communication plans. These communication plans are used by law enforcement agencies to expedite child abduction alerts to the public. The bill requires the Justice Department to use funds for these grants not only to continue the development and enhancement of AMBER Alert Communication plans, but also for the integration of tribal AMBER Alert systems into state AMBER Alert plans.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Congressman Biggs applauded today’s Committee approval of the Amber Alert in Indian Country Act of 2017 in the statements below.

Chairman Goodlatte: “When a child is abducted, a difference of just a few minutes can mean life or death. It is imperative that law enforcement agencies are able to get the word out to the public as soon as possible in child abduction cases in order to help find the child and shield him or her from further harm. While our country has made great strides in alerting the public through the AMBER Alert system, it’s clear that more can and must be done, especially for Native American children. The AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act ensures that critical grants providing AMBER Alert systems are made available to Indian tribes. I thank Congressman Biggs for his devotion to our nation’s children and work on this bill, and call on the House of Representatives to pass it.”

Congressman Biggs: “The AMBER Alert program has been remarkably successful since its inception, helping law enforcement and local communities locate more than 800 abducted children and return them to their homes. I was surprised to learn that this program did not extend to Indian countries, which is the reason why I introduced this bipartisan legislation. No child – regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, or birthplace – should be outside the protection and jurisdiction of such a vital security resource. I am proud to lead this bill and am grateful for Chairman Goodlatte’s commitment to see this legislation through committee.”