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Friday, February 23, 2024
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Henry Cuellar’s Bill Protecting U.S. Law Enforcement & Federal Employees Abroad Became Law

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Congressman Cuellar taking a selfie with fellow legislators that worked on the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act after the signing ceremony at the White House. Courtesy photo
Congressman Cuellar taking a selfie with fellow legislators that worked on the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act after the signing ceremony at the White House. Courtesy photo

Texas Border Business

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Yesterday, my bill, the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act, was signed into law. The bill ensures that individuals who harm or attempt to harm U.S. federal officers and employees serving abroad can be prosecuted in the United States and brought to justice.

I was very excited to be at the White House today for the bill signing of the Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act. The bill is named for U.S. Immigration 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.

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My legislation ensures that something like this will never happen again. 

Federal agents make great sacrifices in service to our country. They protect our homeland, our ideals, and our values. As a member of Congress, it is my duty to protect our service members throughout active duty and beyond.

This legislation will ensure that that individuals who harm, or attempt to harm, federal officers and federal employees serving internationally can be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice in federal court.

I thank all the federal agents and law enforcement officers that have served, or continue to serve our country abroad.  We will never forget the sacrifices of Special Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila.

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