February 26, 2018

House Passes Biggs/Luján Legislation to Ensure Tribal Communities Have Full Access to AMBER Alert System

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act, bipartisan legislation that was cosponsored by Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM). The bill provides funding and other support for expanding the AMBER Alert system to provide full access for those on Tribal lands. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Congressmen Biggs and Luján, along with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, and Ms. Pamela Foster issued the following statements:

“It is gratifying to join my colleagues of both parties as we change policy that saves lives. While many of the issues Congress debates are politically charged, we put our differences aside to pass bills such as the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act. Ms. Pamela Foster, the mother of Ashlynne Mike, has turned the grief she felt at her daughter’s abduction and murder into the hope of making the AMBER Alert program available everywhere in America. Without Ms. Foster’s bravery and perseverance, this bill would not be a reality. I thank her for her efforts – and those of Senator John McCain, House leadership and staff, Chairman Goodlatte and House Judiciary Staff, my House colleagues, and many Arizona advocates. Together, we are assuring that ALL children are protected by the jurisdiction of the AMBER Alert system.” – Congressman Andy Biggs

“This legislation has one goal – saving children’s lives, and I am proud to be a co-sponsor. The Amber Alert system works best within the first five hours a child goes missing, and by ensuring that tribal law enforcement, first responders and those living in Indian country have full access to the AMBER Alert system, we dramatically increase the chances of a child being found alive and unharmed.” – Congressman Ben Ray Luján

“Protecting the most vulnerable members of our society shouldn't be a partisan issue. It's not often we can say Congress passed a law that can save lives, and I want to thank Congressman Biggs for his leadership on this bipartisan effort. The expansion of the AMBER Alert system into tribal lands will help law enforcement and our communities protect all children in danger.” – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich

“AMBER Alerts are a key tool to help children in desperate circumstances. There should be no place in America where a child can be in harm’s way and the greater public’s help cannot be enlisted. Expanding AMBER Alerts to Indian Country is the right thing to do, and I am grateful that Congressman Biggs has led this effort.” – Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery

“I want to thank the members of Congress who worked so hard to make this bill possible. There are not words to express the gratitude that I, and many across our Nation feel towards Congressman Biggs, Senator McCain and the many lawmakers who made this bill a reality. We now have the opportunity to create plans to protect our children and to prevent other families from experiencing the tragedy of losing a child. Now it is up to those of us who live in Native communities to use the resources that the Congress has provided us and to work tirelessly on behalf of our children.” – Ms. Pamela Foster