Last session, I authored legislation to put an end to sanctuary cities in the State of Texas. Unfortunately, we were one vote shy of passing this crucial legislation in the Texas Senate.
Shortly after the session, Kate Steinle was murdered by a previously incarcerated criminal alien that was on the streets due to San Fransisco's unwillingness to honor an immigration detainer. Her tragic death led to a national uproar highlighting why we cannot have policies that allow for violent criminal aliens to walk our streets freely.
Put simply, sanctuary city policies are any policies that prevent law enforcement from enforcing immigration laws already on the books. This can include, but is not limited to, prohibiting officers from inquiring about immigration status of suspected criminals or ignoring immigration detainers in our corrections system.
The recent election was truly a referendum on the lawless Obama Administration that set aside the basic foundation of civil society - the rule of law - to advance their personal agenda. The fight to end sanctuary cities at its core is no different. Government entities should not be able to ignore the rule of law and refuse to follow our immigration laws to advance their personal political agendas. When law-abiding citizens begin to feel that our laws are applied differently to various individuals, based on nothing more than politics, you undermine the basic fabric of society.
Americans spoke loud and clear this election that reigning in our illegal immigration crisis must be a priority. During this election cycle, candidates on the ballot from top to bottom made securing our border the corner stone of their campaigns.
It is easy to see why the voters are fed up. For years, politicians in both parties have promised to do something about illegal immigration, but failed to significantly address the problem. Meanwhile, entities at the local level have ignored the rule of law and implemented sanctuary city policies that either explicitly or implicitly undermine our immigration laws currently on the books.
More than 204,000 criminal aliens have been booked into local Texas jails between June 1, 2011 and October 31, 2016; of those, 66% were identified as being in the U.S. illegally at the time of their last arrest. These arrests include 1,101 homicide charges, 65,118 assault charges, and 5,745 sexual assault charges.
If we are going to spend $800 million on border security as a state, not a penny of that money should go to entities that undercut our laws with sanctuary city policies. We cannot allow our local governments to undermine state and federal efforts to curb illegal immigration.
This year, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has named this legislation a top 10 priority for the session, I am honored to once again be the author. Statewide conservative leaders including Governor Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz have also voiced support for passing this measure.
This legislation will reinstate trust in the legal system and protect our citizens by giving us another tool in the tool box to combat criminal aliens. With your help, we can pass a strong bill that will save lives and ensure local entities are beholden to the rule of law.