FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/11/2015
REP. COOK BEGINS LEGISLATIVE WORK TO PROHIBIT SANCTUARY TO CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS
AUSTIN -- On Thursday, December 10, 2015, State Representative Byron Cook (Corsicana) held his first hearing since the end of the 84th Legislative Session, tackling what is inarguably the most important and contentious topic to most Texas citizens.
As chair of the House Committee on State Affairs, Cook and the committee examined how state and local laws should play a more active role in managing criminal immigrants in our state.
The Congressional Research Service report entitled Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement states, "The power to prescribe rules as to which aliens may enter the United States and which aliens may be removed resides solely with the federal government."
"We cannot wait around for Washington to do their job -- instead, we must do everything possible to keep Texas citizens safe and protected," Cook remarked. "The purpose of the hearing is to support Governor Greg Abbott and Speaker Joe Straus in their call to keep Texas streets safe from crimes committed by criminal immigrants and to hold all Texas Sheriffs to the strictest Immigration Customs Enforcement standards."
One of the witnesses, the deputy attorney for legal counsel, from the Office of the Attorney General, told the committee that the legislation prohibiting "sanctuary cities", which the House Committee on State Affairs and the House of Representatives had already passed in 2011, would likely hold up to Constitutional scrutiny. That bill, House Bill 12, died in the Senate.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there are over 176,000 criminal immigrants that have been booked into jails between 2011 and 2015.
"As we look to the next legislative session, we need our 254 county sheriffs to begin working on the same page," said Cook. "Because we are facing a public safety crisis in our state and Texas citizens' safety is at risk, lawmakers will make immigration reform a top priority during the 85th Legislature."