Ending ‘Catch and Release’ Immigration Policies

March 14, 2017

By Rep. John Raney

For some states, illegal immigration is an academic debate, in Texas, it is a frontline reality. As a State Representative, I have focused on border security, illegal immigration, and human trafficking. As a House Appropriations Committee member, I am proud we stepped up and funded border security when Washington failed to do so.

Funding border security is only part of the solution, we must have the policies in place to deal with the detention and processing of illegal immigrants, victims of human trafficking, and drug smugglers. Under the Obama Administration, many illegals were given a free pass when they crossed the border. According to research, the failure rate of defendants showing up to their hearing was, at one point, as high as 98%.

The alarmingly high percentage is why I have filed House Bill 2225, to work with the new administration and help return to the “catch and detain” policies of President Bush. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is authorized to maintain immigration detention facilities, but current state law prevents Texas from doing the same. This puts us at odds with federal law, and frankly, our own security interests.

House Bill 2225 allows for the inspection and approval of the facilities so ICE can return to a detention policy, and practice sound border security policies. This will allow federal officials to determine those immigrants who are genuinely victims of the criminal element, and those who seek to do us harm. Since these facilities are federally run, my bill will not add financial obligations to our budget, and keeps federal responsibility where it belongs.

Immigration will always require vigilance, and it is good to see Washington join Texas in that mindset.

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