El Paso Officials Speak Out Against Local Immigration Enforcement

El Paso – Today, State Senator Jos Rodr guez (SD-29) joined U.S. Congressman Silvestre Reyes, El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar, El Paso Mayor John Cook, and Commander Lopez from the El Paso Sheriff's Department at a press conference to discuss Governor Perry's emergency item requiring the Texas Legislature address allowing local law enforcement to engage in immigration enforcement activities.

"This bill would strip local control from police and sheriff departments in El Paso and across our state, while adding increased financial strain on already tight department budgets" said Senator Rodr guez. "Instead of focusing on keeping crime off our streets, police will begin to focus more on a person's immigration status than catching criminals.

"To allow officers, untrained in immigration laws, to become immigration officers is a recipe for disaster, which could lead to lawsuits placing more of a financial burden on local governments," continued Rodr guez. "My biggest fear is that if this type of law were to pass, law-abiding El Pasoans will begin to live in fear of those who are supposed to protect and serve our community."

The type of legislation being proposed would require police officers to about ask immigration status; chiefs and sheriffs would not be able to limit the ability of their officers.

Many question whether or not this type of legislation is needed. Data shows that current federal immigration policies have been effective in Texas. According to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, approximately 100,000 people were deported from Texas in 2010. This is 25% of the total deportations from the United States last year.