FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/19/2017
REPRESENTATIVE SHAHEEN FILES IMMIGRATION REFORM PACKAGE
Four Filed Bills Address Sanctuary Cities, Federal Detainers, E-Verify Programs
AUSTIN—State Representative Matt Shaheen filed four immigration bills, citing the desire to work on much needed changes to immigration policy in Texas. "Although immigration is largely a federal issue, there is much we can do as a state to address some of the problems that arise not only for legal citizens, but illegal immigrants themselves," said Shaheen. Rep. Shaheen filed H.B. 762, 763, 764, and 765.
H.B. 763 directs local law enforcement to amend its booking process to include a check on the legal status of someone they arrest. If the person is subject to a federal detainer request, the arresting law enforcement agency is directed to detain that person until U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can intervene. "This bill is necessary in light of recent instances in which sheriffs in certain counties pledged to intentionally defy the federal government on its immigration detainer requests," said Shaheen. "We've seen instances in which illegal immigrants were detained, then released, only to go on to commit much more serious crimes than the ones they were initially arrested for."
To give an incentive for local law enforcement to comply with H.B. 763, Shaheen also filed H.B. 764, which makes local governments civilly liable for any damages resulting from a felony committed by an immigrant who was subject to a federal detainer but was nonetheless released. "There must be consequences to a dereliction of duty, and H.B. 764 provides that in full," said Shaheen.
H.B. 762 addresses "sanctuary cities" in Texas—local jurisdictions that unilaterally decide to ignore federal law as it pertains to immigration policy. "H.B. 762 prohibits cities from banning inquiries by a law enforcement official or judge as to the legal status of an individual who is lawfully detained. It allows local officials to comply with the two other bills I filed on this issue and fosters cooperation between the state and federal government on immigration policy."
Lastly, Shaheen filed H.B. 765, which requires that all state agencies use an E-Verify system to confirm the legal status of a newly-hired state employee. "In order to attain true immigration reform, we must first ensure that the state is following the law itself, and H.B. 765 allows for that."
Contact: Mikael Garcia