Obama Signs Tribal Law And Order Act

WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday signed the Tribal Law and Order Act, intended to increase prosecution of crimes on Indian reservations. "All of our people -- whether they live in our biggest cities or our most remote reservations -- have the right to feel safe in their own communities, and to raise their children in peace, and enjoy the fullest protection of our laws," Obama said in remarks during a signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House. "It is unconscionable that crime rates in Indian Country are more than twice the national average and up to 20 times the national average on some reservations. … When one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes, that is an assault on our national conscience; it is an affront to our shared humanity; it is something that we cannot allow to continue," Obama said before signing the act into law. Obama noted that Attorney General Eric Holder held extensive consultations with tribal leaders this year to produce significant reforms that would increase prosecutions on Indian reservations and said the new law would require the Justice Department to "disclose data on cases in Indian Country that it declines to prosecute and it gives tribes greater authority to prosecute and punish criminals themselves."