My Bills

I have introduced several pieces of legislation in the 113th Congress that will help small businesses succeed, promote strong education for our children and help prepare them for the future, protect immigrant workers, and stand up for civil rights.

For legislation I have cosponsored, click here
For legislation from past Congresses, click here

2014

Due Process for Unaccompanied Minors Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act
San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act
Celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

2013

Women's Health Protection Act
Veterans Education Counseling Act
T
he Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
San Gabriel Watershed Restoration Act
DIPLOMA Act
Partnerships for Achieving Student Success Act
To Extend Operations and Maintenance for the San Gariel Basin Restoration Fund
The Equal Access to Quality Education Act
Commercial Real Estate and Economic Development Act

Past Congresses

Entrepreneur Startup Growth Act
E
ducation for Tomorrow's Job
The Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act
The Equal Access to Quality Education Act
Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act
Resolution Expressing Regret for the Chinese Exclusion Laws
Celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
Extend Operations and Maintenance for the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund
The Preserving Foreign Criminal Assets for Forfeiture Act

2014

Due Process for Unaccompanied Minors Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act (H.R. 4936)

Since 2011, the number of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the Southwest border has drastically increased. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) predicts that an estimated 90,000 unaccompanied children will attempt to enter the country by the end of 2014.  Many of the children attempting to cross into the U.S. are fleeing extremely violent environments in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - collectively known as the Northern Triangle of Central America.  Drug cartel and gang-related activity are the main cause for most of the violence occurring in the region. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as many as 58 percent of the minors could qualify for international protection. 

Today, thousands of unaccompanied children must fight their immigration cases alone before an immigration judge. Currently, these children have no right to government appointed counsel and must face removal proceedings alone. In order ensure our immigration system gives these children a fair shot, I and four other Members introduced the Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act (VIVA), H.R. 4936, which mandates government appointed counsel in immigration proceedings for unaccompanied children and individuals with mental disabilities. 

Without legal representation, children must present a legal defense of their own to prevent their removal from the United States. This bill is a critical step forward in ensuring due process and that the most vulnerable immigrants have a meaningful opportunity to seek the protections for which they qualify. Access to counsel will also increase efficiency of removal proceedings, reduce the case backlog, and reduce the number of unnecessary immigration court proceedings.

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San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act (H.R.4858)
The San Gabriel Mountains are unique and majestic, hosting over 3 million visitors a year, and hundreds of special species. They are the source of our precious drinking water, as well as a place for anyone from hikers to off-road vehicle enthusiasts to enjoy the outdoors. The San Gabriels accommodate all this in one of the most park-poor regions of the United States, with too many neighborhoods often lacking even a playground.

For over a decade, diverse communities and stakeholders in the San Gabriel Valley have called for much-needed improvements to the management of the San Gabriel Mountains and the river corridor, or Emerald Necklace. These improvements include a new approach to sustainable conservation and recreation that addresses the needs of a growing urban population with very little access to open space.

That is why the National Park Service (NPS) began a study of the area in 2003, which concluded in 2013. The study determined that the area has ecological, historic, geological, and other values that are found nowhere else in the U.S. and need to be better protected. 

That is why, after working with local stakeholders within our community, I introduced H.R. 4858, the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act. A National Recreation Area (NRA) designation will allow the NPS to get the funding it so desperately needs. Currently, there are too few resources to handle the volume of visitation. An NRA would help NPS build bathroom facilities, picnic areas, and better parking grounds. It can help improve signage, and increase education about the environment, fire safety, the special history of the region, and more. Rangers could make sure trash does not end up in the rivers that supply our drinking water. 

In addition, I worked closely with a wide range of many local stakeholders, elected officials, and community members to ensure my legislation protects local rights, water management, fire management, existing recreation, private property, utilities, and more.

The NRA would empower communities across the area to work on projects and opportunities in a more cohesive and coordinated manner. A direct path would be created for the residents, County Cities, U.S. Forest Service, and others to address challenges and opportunities.

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Celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (H.RES.605):
As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Chu introduced a resolution recognizing the month of May 2011 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month and as an important time to celebrate the significant contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to our nation’s history. The resolution notes that AAPIs are now the fastest growing racial group in the country, acknowledges historic challenges the community has faced, and highlights trailblazers and notable American figures of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. The resolution also recognizes that AAPIs enhance the rich diversity of the United States and strengthen our nation.

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2013

Women's Health Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 3471)
In recent years, numerous state legislatures took action to impede a woman’s constitutional right to access safe, legal abortions. Between 2011 and 2013, more state abortion restrictions were enacted than in the entire previous decade. In 2013 alone, 22 states enacted 70 provisions seeking to restrict access to abortion services. Many of these restrictions have nothing to do with women’s health or safety, instead they prescribe specific size requirements for buildings or require admitting privileges at hospitals for physicians performing abortions at outpatient clinics. Its no surprise that the number of states that are hostile to women’s rights grew to 27 states compared to the 13 states in 2000.  As a result, women in states like Texas must travel 300 miles back and forth to obtain abortion services, and some doctors there are reporting that desperate women are performing self-induced abortions due to lack of access. 

That is why I introduced H.R. 3471, the Women’s Health Protection Act. This bill creates federal protections against state laws that fail to protect women’s health and that intrude upon personal decision-making. It prohibits medically unwarranted restrictions that single out abortion services or the facilities that provide them. In doing so, women will have access to safe, legal abortion services, and this constitutional right will no longer hinge upon the state in which they reside.  

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Veterans Education Counseling Act (H.R. 3399)

I introduced the Veterans Education Counseling Act (H.R. 3399) to help students achieve academic success and go on to good civilian jobs.

All veterans using GI Bill benefits are already entitled to educational counseling through the VA.  But there is little information available about this service or how to apply.  Instead, the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation program is overly emphasized, and there is no clear difference. But there should be, because not all veterans seeking to use their GI Bill benefits need to be rehabilitated; they just want to go to school and get their degree or professional certification and they need basic guidance and information.

The Veterans Education Counseling Act requires the VA to provide information to veterans letting them know about the counseling they are entitled to – and the difference between counseling programs – BEFORE they apply for the GI Bill. It also provide information on how to apply, and allows them to apply online.

Transition from military to civilian life is already difficult enough.  This bill makes small but meaningful changes to make it a little easier for our nation’s heroes, and continues the effort to make veterans benefits more clear and transparent.  This is a critical step in ensuring our veterans’ academic success.

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The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15)
Our immigration system is outdated and in need of major reform.  We have more than 12 million immigrants currently living and working in the shadows without documents, where they face detention and deportation of individuals who are contributing to our communities. Millions of close family members are waiting abroad, for decades, to join their loved ones through the family-based immigration system. Businesses and farmers aren’t getting access to the workers they need to stay competitive, which hurts our economy. The system is broken. 

That is why I was among five Members to introduce a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15). The bill secures our borders, strengthens our economy, and provides a pathway forward for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The bill also improves our legal immigration system by reducing the family immigration backlog and opens up employment visas by eliminating the country-specific caps. 

H.R. 15 is the only bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives in the 113 Congress, and has strong support with 200 cosponsors. 

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San Gabriel Watershed Restoration Act (H.R.2436)
Restoring the San Gabriel River watershed is critical to ensuring a stable ecosystem, flood control, water quality control, water supply storage, and – if possible – opportunities for recreational enhancements. With a record drought, it is more important than ever to protect and improve our watershed.  Millions of residents rely on the San Gabriel River watershed, and also enjoy the outdoor space it provides among highly urban neighborhoods.

In 1999 the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors directed the Department of Public Works to prepare a plan for the San Gabriel River corridor. To develop a shared vision of the river, a Steering Committee representing cities, other public agencies, water groups, and community and environmental groups was formed. The consensus-based Master Plan that emerged from this stakeholder-driven process integrates many objectives: flood protection, water supply, habitat, recreation, open space, and economic development. A multi-objective and multi-user perspective to planning the long-term future of the San Gabriel River was the foundation and purpose for this Master Plan.

With that in mind, I introduced HR 2436, requesting the Army Corps of Engineers to prepare a feasibility for environmental ecosystem restoration, flood control, water quality control, water supply storage, outdoor recreation enhancements, and other aspects of the San Gabriel River Watershed revitalization that is consistent with the goals of the San Gabriel River master plan published by the County of Los Angeles. The bill will also identify demonstration projects, which are the first step in the long process of accessing funds through the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).

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Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act (H.R.2237):
Across the country, many of our students face insurmountable barriers to learning. Barriers such as language proficiency, hunger, local crime or homelessness prevent them from achieving academic success. A recent study from Chicago found significant social and economic disadvantages at school diminish the work and resources invested to improve teaching and learning. In order to meet the challenges, the researchers recommended a comprehensive solution that includes the community, the school and related social-service programs to provide wrap-around services for these struggling students.

That’s why the DIPLOMA Act is so necessary.  It allows states to award grants to local groups that coordinate, integrate and facilitate these types of services aimed at strengthening student achievement.  The funds can be used for dropout prevention, family engagement, tutoring, extending learning services, health care and social support. The bill contains strong accountability measures, including independent evaluations to measure the results of grant recipients and identify best practices.  It builds on successful community school efforts already underway in many areas across the nation.

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Partnerships for Achieving Student Success Act (H.R.1854)
As a psychologist, I know that there is no budget cut more short-sighted than one that stands between mental health resources and those who desperately need them. For a student, access may be the difference between a productive day in class and an act of aggression against oneself or one’s peers.

That’s why I introduced the Partnerships for Achieving Student Success (PASS) Act (H.R. 1854). This bill creates a federal grant program to help increase and build the capacity of low-income school districts to recruit, employ, and retain school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, and other psychologists qualified to work in elementary and secondary schools. The PASS Act acknowledges the importance of removing barriers to learning that arise when students struggle with a personal life crisis; mental health issue; or social, behavioral, or learning problem. We cannot ignore the role mental health plays in education, and the PASS Act will help schools and teachers provide students the support they need to excel.

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To Extend Operations and Maintenance for the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund (H.R.1822)
Ensuring the residents of the San Gabriel Valley have a clean and reliable water supply for future generations to come is a top priority of mine.  As California’s we know must continually find ways to conserve water and be water wise to ensure our local communities continue to have a safe and reliable water supply.

Back in 1979, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and perchlorates, including suspected carcinogens, were discovered in a natural underground drinking water basin known as San Gabriel basin, which threatened to jeopardize the drinking water supply of 1.4 million people in L.A. County.   

A big part of the solution has been the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund operated by the Water Quality Authority (WQA).  The Restoration Fund has truly been a success story, a model that can be followed by other water projects.  It has removed nearly 21 tons of contaminants from the groundwater basin, and has treated nearly 350,000 acre-feet of groundwater.  That’s more than 50 percent of the total clean-up efforts since the contamination was discovered!  Not only that, this project has also created 2,700 highly skilled jobs for our local residents. 

However, authorization for the fund is about to expire, threatening water cleanup efforts.  That’s why I introduced HR 1822 to provide an additional 5 years to operate and maintain any cleanup project constructed under the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund.  Roughly $70 million in federal funding remains available under the authorization, and we need the flexibility and additional time for the clean-up efforts.

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The Equal Access to Quality Education Act of 2013 (H.R.1334):
Many schools with minority students lack the resources and staff to provide them with equal education opportunities. A recent report by the Department of Education found that schools with mostly African-American students are twice as likely to have teachers with only one or two years of experience compared to predominately-white schools in the very same school district. Congress must address these inequalities of quality educational opportunities to fix our educational system.

The Equal Access to Quality Education Act is a solution that establishes a grant program to create a partnership between high-need schools and local colleges to provide resources for teacher preparation programs. The bill seeks to invest in programs that help develop teachers in high-need minority communities in order to provide more quality educators while decreasing the high-turnover rates for these schools. These programs would provide educators with the knowledge base and skills to meet the needs of diverse learners including English language learners and students with disabilities.

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Commerical Real Estate and Economic Development Act of 2013 (H.R.1240)
Small businesses are the very backbone of our national economy, and 1 out of 3 new jobs is created by self-employed startup businesses. But in tough economic times, small businesses are faced with not only a lack of costumers to buy their goods and services, but also a lack of access to credit to keep their businesses afloat. It is already challenging for a small business to get a loan from a conventional bank to expand, or to simply refinance the loans they already have.  

As the Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Capital Access, ensuring that business owners have the capital they need to grow their businesses is one of my top priorities. That’s why one of the first bills I introduced this Congress is H.R. 1240, Commercial Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED) Act.  This bill extends the Small Business Administration’s 504 loan refinance program for five years.

This program allows qualifying small business owners to refinance eligible fixed assets, giving them the opportunity to lock in long-term, stable financing, and enabling access to working capital so that they can protect jobs and create new ones. Unfortunately this program expired in 2012 and left thousands of struggling businesses unable to take advantage of this refinancing opportunity. In the last year of the program, over 2,400 small businesses benefited from refinancing of over $2.2 billion in assets. Furthermore, since the CREED Act is completely funded by SBA fees, the bill boosts the economy without any cost to the taxpayer. 

The CREED Act will help businesses grow by offering refinancing opportunities that were previously unavailable, allowing small businesses to take advantage of historically low interest rates, and putting more capital in the hands of America’s job creators. 

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Past Congresses

Entrepreneur Startup Growth Act (HR 3571):
Today, 1 out of every 3 new jobs is created by self-employed startup businesses. Self-employed startups in their first year of existence create an average of 3 million jobs per year. In fact, without business startups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S. economy. Nearly all net job creation since 1980 has occurred in self-employed startups less than five years old.   

But recent news suggests that compared to other wealthy countries, the U.S. ranks 23rd in new businesses formed per thousand working adults. Entrepreneurs take risks to make it on their own, but they could do better if we help them be competitive. That is why I introduced The Entrepreneur Startup Growth Act.

One of the most intimidating times of the year for new  business owners is tax season as they learn and navigate the different tax standards for business.  My bill turns this tough time into an opportunity by offering not only affordable business tax assistance, but business development services so that these companies can get the advice they need to grow.

This bill builds on the Self-Employment Tax Initiative launched by CFED, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a nonprofit economic opportunity organization. The Entrepreneur Startup Growth Act allows community-based organizations, local governments and higher education institutions to apply for grants up to $75,000 to operate this program. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) will work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure that the operators of the program have expertise in both tax assistance and business development assistance.

The Entrepreneur Start-Up Growth Act will help businesses grow, help low-income households build the assets that they need to survive, and get the economic security they desire.  With this, we will be able to help people climb up that ladder of opportunity and reach for the American Dream.

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The Education for Tomorrow’s Job Act (HR 3154):
Our nation’s high schools are not working for large numbers of young people.  Students feel bored, unchallenged, or unclear about the relevance of school. We have failed to address the most basic question students ask - “Why do I need to learn this?” The Education for Tomorrow’s Job Act will allow communities to take part in innovative strategies to help ensure all students have both the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and careers and that every student lives up to the fullest extent of their individual potential.

The Education for Tomorrow’s Job Act is the solution that provides school districts with flexibility to implement proven strategies to integrate academic and real world experience. The bill combines college ready academics with career and technical education, work-based learning, and supplemental services to add greater meaning and rigor to learning. By showing students the connection between school and the outside world through partnerships in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand industries such as engineering or digital media, we can increase high school graduation rates, raise college attendance rates, and improve labor market outcomes for participating students.

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The Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act of 2011 (HR 2617):
Many teen parents, especially girls, drop out of school because they do not receive the support they need. Communities of color and low-income teen parents are more susceptible. High dropout rates threaten to lock these families in a cycle of poverty. By providing teen parents with the tools and support they need to succeed, we help them and their children enjoy lives that are more successful.

The Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education Act is the solution that establishes a $100 million grant program to school districts to establish or enhance educational programs and provide necessary support resources for teen parents to finish school. Schools connect teen parents to tutoring, child care, family planning services for subsequent pregnancy prevention, and academic counseling to help them stay in school and succeed.

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The Equal Access to Quality Education Act of 2011 (HR 2902):
Many schools with minority students lack the resources and staff to provide them with equal education opportunities. A recent report by the Department of Education found that schools with mostly African-American students are twice as likely to have teachers with only one or two years of experience compared to predominately-white schools in the very same school district. Congress must address these inequalities of quality educational opportunities to fix our educational system.

The Equal Access to Quality Education Act is a solution that establishes a grant program to create a partnership between high-need schools and local colleges to provide resources for teacher preparation programs. The bill seeks to invest in programs that help develop teachers in high-need minority communities in order to provide more quality educators while decreasing the high-turnover rates for these schools. These programs would provide educators with the knowledge base and skills to meet the needs of diverse learners including English language learners and students with disabilities.

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Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act (HR 2169):
Immigrant workers across this country face a unique threat: If their employer mistreats them and they fight for their workplace rights, that employer may hold their immigration status against them and threaten to contact immigration authorities in retaliation. However, the law is clear - all workers, regardless of their immigration status, are protected by federal and state labor and employment laws. We must hold employers who break the law accountable for their actions.

To bring lawbreakers to justice for crimes against immigrants, current law allows victims to receive a temporary U Visa. The U visa lets noncitizen victims assist government officials in investigating or prosecuting the crime.  The problem is current law does not do enough to protect victims of labor violations.  That’s where my bill, the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation – or POWER – Act comes in.

It allows for temporary lawful status with employment authorization to workers who have filed a workplace claim or are material witnesses in any pending or anticipated workplace claim.   A federal, state, or local official must certify that an investigation or prosecution would be harmed without the assistance of the immigrant, and no more than 10,000 of these U visas can be provided each year.  

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Resolution Expressing Regret for the Chinese Exclusion Laws (H. Res 282)
Congress passed numerous laws to restrict Chinese Americans, starting from the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act to stop the Chinese with immigrating, from ever becoming naturalized citizens and ever having the right to vote.  This was the first and only time that a group of people was excluded from the promises of American freedom and democracy just because of their race.

H Res 282 expresses regret for the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Laws and reaffirms Congress’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.  The Senate passed a similar resolution, S. Res. 201, on October 6, 2011. 

This resolution is ciritical because by discriminating on the basis of race, the Chinese Exclusion Laws violated fundamental American civil rights, including the right of persons in the United States, to equal protection of the laws and kept them out of participating in the political process because they could not vote.

Although these laws were repealed in 1943 as a war measure to get China to be our ally during World War II, Congress has never expressly acknowledged that the anti-Chinese laws violated fundamental civil rights.  By acting now and passing H Res 282, the House can make amends during the lifetimes of the last living generation that were directly subjected to the Chinese Exclusion Laws.

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Celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (H.Res 243):
As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Chu introduced a resolution recognizing the month of May 2011 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month and as an important time to celebrate the significant contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to our nation’s history. The resolution notes that AAPIs are now the fastest growing racial group in the country, acknowledges historic challenges the community has faced, and highlights trailblazers and notable American figures of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. The resolution also recognizes that AAPIs enhance the rich diversity of the United States and strengthen our nation.

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Extend Operations and Maintenance for the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund (HR 3132)
Ensuring the residents of the San Gabriel Valley have a clean and reliable water supply for future generations to come is a top priority of mine.  Although California has experienced record rainfall and significant snowpack in the upper basin of the Colorado River this year, we cannot take anything for granted and must continue to find ways to conserve water and be water wise to ensure our local communities continue to have a safe and reliable water supply. 

Back in 1979, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and perchlorates, including suspected carcinogens, were discovered in a natural underground drinking water basin known as San Gabriel basin, which threatened to jeopardize the drinking water supply of 1.4 million people in L.A. County.   

A big part of the solution has been the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund operated by the Water Quality Authority (WQA).  The Restoration Fund has truly been a success story, a model that can be followed by other water projects.  It has removed nearly 21 tons of contaminants from the groundwater basin, and has treated nearly 350,000 acre-feet of groundwater.  That’s more than 50 percent of the total clean-up efforts since the contamination was discovered!  Not only that, this project has also created 2,700 highly skilled jobs for our local residents. 

However, authorization for the fund is about to expire, threatening water cleanup efforts.  That’s why I introduced HR 3132 to provide an additional 5 years to operate and maintain any clean up project constructed under the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund.  Roughly $70 million in federal funding remains available under the authorization, and we need the flexibility and additional time for the clean-up efforts. 

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The Preserving Foreign Criminal Assets for Forfeiture Act of 2010 (H.R. 6487)
Rep. Chu is concerned about the impact of the violence from the drug cartels in Mexico has on our communities.  That’s why she introduced the Preserving Foreign Criminal Assets for Forfeiture Act last Congress, which was signed into law on December 22, 2010.

In 2009, Bobby Salcedo, a rising star in the El Monte community and the Vice Principal of El Monte High School, was murdered in Mexico by a drug cartel even though he had no connection to the drug trade.  Rep. Chu introduced HR 6487 to go after the drug cartels along our southern border and hit them where it’ll hurt the most– their pocketbooks.    This law gives law enforcement new tools to seize hundreds of millions of dollars in dirty money before criminals can hide them from the police. 

Before this act became law, law enforcement could only seize cartel assets in the United States after a final judgment was issued in a Mexican court.  But with a Mexican conviction rate of less than 5%, we couldn't capture the majority of cartel funds here in the United States before they were hidden elsewhere. Now American courts can issue restraining orders to freeze these assets after finding evidence of criminal activity. Cartels will now feel the sting of law enforcement when we seize their money to prevent them from committing any further crimes.

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