First elected in 2018, Congressman Lance Gooden represents Texas’ 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 5th District stretches from Dallas County to Cherokee, Henderson, Kaufman, Anderson, Van Zandt and Wood Counties.
The immigration system in the United States is plagued with a myriad of problems, many of which are fueled by illegal immigration. Simply put, we do not have control over who is coming across our border or where they are going upon arrival. We need to make significant changes to the process and ensure that state, local, and federal entities are all working together. I recently filed a bill, the Protecting American Lives Act, which specifically addresses Sanctuary Cities and the respective enforcement agencies.
A “Sanctuary City” is a city that refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies, specifically Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). More than 15 major metropolitan cities operate in open violation of federal law by choosing to operate as “Sanctuary Cities”. These cities have become prime destinations for immigrants who have come to America illegally. In most cases, these are violent criminals and drug traffickers seeking a safe haven to avoid deportation.
My legislation would cut off federal law enforcement grants to cities and states that choose not to comply with ICE detainer requests. We are not targeting terrorism preparedness, drug enforcement, or other grants unrelated to immigration. This will in no way disrupt law enforcement practices that are ongoing. This is specifically targeted toward those cities that disregard federal law enforcement agencies to the detriment of their own law-abiding citizens.
For instance, when an illegal immigrant is brought in for processing by local law enforcement, he or she is identified as an undocumented immigrant. Immediately, local officials are required to notify ICE. They will then automatically receive what is called a “detainer request”. This request asks the local officials to detain an illegal immigrant until ICE can send agents to pick them up and process them for deportation. Sanctuary cities have decided they will ignore and not comply with these detainer requests. My bill will not only stop their funding for refusal to comply, but also protect any local law enforcement officials willing to stand up and enforce the law.
This is a threat to our public safety. We saw this recently near Baltimore where members of the violent cartel MS-13 brutally murdered a 14-year-old girl. Two of the gang members involved had illegal status and had prior arrests.Authorities refused to comply with the detainer request and completely disregarded the rule of law. The crime could have been prevented if authorities in Baltimore had complied.
I believe the federal government should operate with great restraint when it comes to dictating law enforcement standards to local agencies. However, this cannot be the case when there is such a blatant and dangerous disregard for the law and the protection of American citizens.