CHANGE OF VOTE -- (Senate - October 16, 2007)
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Mr. BIDEN. Madam President, I thank the Chair for the nice comment. I will be necessarily brief here.
By depriving major cities around the country of COPS funds, the Vitter amendment undercuts the efforts of law enforcement and contributes to the growing crime rate in three ways.
First, it takes much needed funds away from State and local law enforcement agencies that are now struggling to protect their communities against a rising tide of crime. The FBI's Uniform Crime Report statistics indicate that for a second year in a row, crime is increasing. In the first 6
months of 2006, murders rose by 1.8 percent and violent crime by 1.9 percent. In 2005, the Police Executive Research Forum found that many of the same cities to which the Vitter amendment would deny COPS funding have recently experienced double-digit increases in murder and violent crime, and the COPS Program has proven to be effective in fighting crime. As a recent Brookings Institute study shows, for every $1.4 billion spent on COPS, society saves between $6 and 12 billion. That is their report.
In 2005, the General Accounting Office report found between 1993 and 2001 the COPS Program contributed to a steady decrease in the crime rates.
This amendment is going to have a very chilling effect on victims and witnesses in the immigrant community, who would otherwise report crimes.
Finally, the amendment would reverse successful Federal crime policies that recognize that State and local law enforcement know what is best in their community to drive down the crime rate. It would disregard the judgment of 70 law enforcement jurisdictions that found immigration status confidentiality policies are an effective part of community-oriented policing in their States, counties, and cities.
To vote for the Vitter amendment, to stay with the Vitter amendment, is to vote, I believe, against effective law enforcement. A vote for the amendment is a vote against safer communities, and I believe a vote for this amendment would perpetuate the rise in crime rates all across the country.
I understand there is a tabling motion that is going to take place. I may be mistaken. But vote against the Vitter amendment or vote to table it.
I thank Senator Mikulski for the incredible job she has been doing on this, and for the additional funding for the COPS bill.
I yield the floor.