House Representative

Cook, Byron


Rep. Cook Schedules Hearing on Governor Abbott's Initiatives to Prohibit "Sanctuary Cities" in Texas

AUSTIN -- State Representative Byron Cook (Corsicana), chair of the House Committee on State Affairs, scheduled his first interim public committee hearing to address the following interim charge: Examine state and local laws applicable to undocumented immigrants throughout the State of Texas and analyze the effects of those laws in conjunction with federal immigration laws and the policies and practices followed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"The purpose of this hearing is to support Texas Governor Greg Abbott's recent call to keep Texas streets safe from crimes committed by criminal immigrants and to hold all Texas Sheriffs to the strictest ICE standards," said Cook.

At this initial hearing Chairman Cook plans to invite witnesses who will include a cross section of Texas sheriffs, heads of state agencies and other key individuals. The hearing will take place in Austin on December 10, 2015.

Because Washington has failed to act on this complex issue, our state is forced to continue to address as many areas as possible at a statewide level; therefore, Cook and the committee will continue working with the Governor's office on his following initiatives:

• The state must pass laws that prohibit any policy or action that promotes sanctuary to people in Texas illegally.

• The state must enact laws that make it illegal for a Sheriff's Department to not honor a federal immigration detainer request.

• Texas must evaluate the extent to which local taxpayers should foot the bill for local decisions that increase costs of our health and education systems.

• The state should consider amending the Texas Tort Claims Act to ensure counties are fully financially responsible for the actions of any illegal immigrants who are released because of the county's sheriff failed to honor an ICE detainer request.

• Enact laws supporting the current establishment by the Governor's, new standards for sheriff's departments applying for Criminal Justice Division grant awards must be certified as 100% compliant with ICE detention requests for criminal immigrants. Further, any applicant that certifies full compliance with ICE detainer requests, but subsequently fails to honor an ICE detainer will be subject to claw-back provisions and must refund the full amount of their CJD grant award.

Toni Barcellona