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Mr. MARINO. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Congresswoman Handel for bringing this forth, this very important piece of legislation that has been reviewed by the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in Sessions v. Dimaya ruled that 18 U.S.C. Section 16 was unconstitutionally void for vagueness.
That is the way the process works. We, the legislators, write the law, not an unelected bureaucrat. We, as legislators, are supposed to write the law, then the court interprets that law if an issue is brought before the court, as in this particular case.
So there is a several-page slip opinion, we call it, that explains why the court ruled the way it did, saying we need more of an explanation as to what a violent crime is. The court ruled that the statute in question failed to properly provide a definition for a crime of violence.
H.R. 6691 eliminates that vagueness and addresses the Supreme Court's concerns and preserves the pre-Dimaya status quo.
It has the support of the Justice Department.
The legislation before us today is supported by the Department of Justice, I want to reemphasize that, and will properly define what a crime of violence is. It is clearly delineated here in eight pages, the crimes, what constitutes them, the meaning, the intent, crime by crime on these pages. It does not prevent anyone from due process.
As a former Federal prosecutor and State prosecutor, I have seen serious violent crimes that were committed. And we must make sure that those that are here illegally and commit these violent crimes be sent back to their countries from where they came.
Over 18 years as a prosecutor, I have seen my share of bodies on slabs in morgues because of violent crime, and many of those were young kids.
This legislation defines crime by crime by crime and sets forth the criteria that the legislature was responsible for doing in the first place.
I want to explain the process on how this works. The crime is committed, it is reported, law enforcement goes in and does an investigation. If they feel that a crime has been committed, they file a complaint or go to the DA or go to the United States Attorney and present probable cause, evidence that the crime probably was committed. And then, in whatever situation, whether it is the State or the Federal level, there can be an indictment, the evidence can go before a grand jury, and then the decision is made if it proceeds. Then that individual goes before a judge on a preliminary hearing to the point where the person's actual constitutional rights kick in. None of that, none of that is eliminated.
I support this legislation because of what I have seen over my career. And taking care of issues of violence that we see so much of and the violence that we see, particularly by individuals that are here illegally, this remedies that matter.
We have a lot of violence in this country committed by people that are citizens, and we take care of that through the judicial system as well.
But this is commonsense legislation. It addresses the issue immediately and it does what the American people want it to do.
There is due process, but if you are here illegally, you commit a violent crime, and once that is established, then you are sent back to your country of origin.
Mr. Speaker, I support this legislation and I urge my colleagues to support it.
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Mr. MARINO. Mr. Speaker, I would like to make some clarifications. First of all, I am tired of hearing from the other side that bills are rushed through, bills are pushed through, there is no thought put into this, which is nothing more than a red herring.
The Supreme Court said that the term ``crime of violence'' is not specific enough. So what we did was we put into this new statute this new law explaining what murder is, and voluntary manslaughter, sexual abuse, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual abuse, child abuse, kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, firearms use, burglary, arson, extortion, communication of threats, and fleeing.
These are already laws that have been on the books for two decades. The Court just simply said it wants the specifics in the legislation for removing someone who is here illegally and who has committed one of these crimes.
Now, let's go into this. They are making, again, a red herring, a big deal, out of this term ``fleeing.'' Now, all the crimes, plus there were many more in here that I didn't have time to go over, explain and define those.
One thing I want to talk about in ``fleeing'' is, it is not if a person is speeding and an officer wants to stop that person and the person drives a little longer to find a safe place to pull over. That is absurd.
Here is the term. ``Fleeing'' means knowingly operating a motor vehicle and, following a law enforcement officer's signal to bring the motor vehicle to a stop: A, failing or refusing to comply; or, B, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.
The term ``force'' means the level of force capable of physical pain or injury, or needed or intended to overcome resistance.
That means that that individual is fleeing in that automobile at a high rate of speed to get away from the officer because they don't want to be caught, and that person could cause much more havoc, much more danger and death, to somebody else if, when they are fleeing, they cause an accident.
My colleagues on the other side leave out these important details. It is all listed here. It is very specific. It is exactly what the Court asked for, and this is good law.
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