Victims' Rights Caucus

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Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) plans to introduce an amendment tomorrow to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act that will increase funding to state and local law enforcement agencies to assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws. Under the 287(g) program, funding is appropriated to train and authorize our state and local law enforcement in upholding federal law. Congressman Poes amendment would increase funding to this program by $41 million.

It is time that we send a clear message that we intend to enforce immigration laws throughout our country, not just at the border, said Poe. Local and state law enforcement have the will to enforce our laws and secure our borders, they certainly deserve the funding and support of the federal government to do so. By eliminating the ridiculous sanctuary policies cities have, we will end the safe havens for illegal aliens and create a second layer of defense in securing our borders. Currently, once illegal immigrants get passed the Border Patrol there is a belief that they are home free that misconception must be corrected.

Since 1995, spending on border security has increased tenfold from $1.2 billion to over $12.7 billion, and the number of Border Patrol agents has more than doubled from 5,000 to 12,319; yet during that same time period, the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has jumped from five million to over eleven million. What these statistics show is that the reason for the increase in the numbers of illegal immigrants is not as related to the number of agents on the border, but rather to the number of agents in our interior and their capability and willingness to enforce the law.

Since 2001, only 159 officers have received training nationwide in the 287(g) program. According to testimony given before the House Homeland Security Committee and a report from the Heritage Foundation, there is a need to expand this program to train 5,000 state and local law enforcement officers nationwide over the next two years. This amendment is an important step toward securing our border.

Because the federal government has failed to protect our nations borders, more and more of the burden of illegal immigration has fallen on the shoulders of state and local governments, said Poe. We need to give them the flexibility the 287(g) program provides to help them make their communities a safe place to live.

Congressman Poe is a member of the House Immigration Reform Caucus and serves on the House Committee on International Relations, Terrorism Subcommittee.