Washington, DC—Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy and Chris Dodd joined Simeon Wright, a relative of Emmett Till who was present at his tragic kidnapping in 1955, at a press conference today to discuss a package of bills, including the Emmett Till Unsolved Crimes Bill, being held up by a handful of Republicans. The legislation would help solve Civil Rights-era crimes that remain unresolved.
The package contains dozens of bipartisan and noncontroversial bills, including advancing medical research in critical areas, cracking down on child exploitation and promoting important U.S. foreign policy goals. One or two Republican Senators have continued to hold up this important legislation, but Democrats are not going to allow the obstruction of a few to block the will of Congress and the American people.
"With the Republican voting in lockstep, Senate Democrats may not be able to move all the bills we would like to,” Durbin said. “But the Advancing America’s Priorities Act is a diverse package of non-controversial bills with broad bipartisan support. Under normal circumstances, each of these bills would have passed the Senate through the unanimous consent process and most would be law by now. And yet one senator is objecting to the passage of the Emmett Till Act and a host of other measures in this package."
Said Leahy: “People are rightly worried about keeping their communities safe and protecting their children. The Judiciary Committee has worked throughout this Congress to advance the priorities of Americans. Many of these important efforts have been obstructed by Republican objections. By passing the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, we honor Emmett Till and all those who sacrificed their lives advancing civil rights. It is disgraceful that it has taken us so long to take this basic step to pursue justice too long delayed. It is incredible that some continue to obstruct these efforts.”
“The passage of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act is long overdue,” Dodd said. “This legislation will help heal the wounds of one of our nation’s darkest periods by expanding federal resources to track down and punish those who perpetrated heinous crimes of racial hatred. With so many witnesses of these crimes growing older, it is critical that we act now. While this bill cannot undo the horrors of the past, it provides an opportunity to restore faith in the impartiality of our justice system. Enough obstructionism – it is time to pass this bill.”
Said Wright: ““We are in the process of becoming a greater nation when the federal government works to protect the civil rights of all of our citizens.”