Creating a 21st Century Immigration System
Though immigration reform is a federal responsibility, that has not stopped me from being a leader in creating programs and policies at a local level that welcome and help immigrants, as well as being a strong voice in advocating for reforms with federal officials.
I spearheaded the creation of the County’s immigrant services office and will continue to advocate for the expansion of that office. Our third largest source of revenue at the County happens to come from a contract with the US Marshals to house federal inmates in our jails. The vast majority of those inmates are in jail, not because they are criminals, but because they violated immigration laws. I feel that we can take more from that close to $90 million a year and put it toward programs that support immigrants, such as a Municipal ID, which is a program I have proposed creating many times over the past seven years.
I have also spent quite a bit of time working with organizations like the Border Network for Human Rights and Border Hope Institute advocating for more humane treatment of immigrants and the abolition of programs such as the Migrant Protection Protocol and Title 42. I have also spent time on Capitol Hill advocating for proposals that would bring more transparency, accountability and better communication within the Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol, ICE and Customs and Border Protection. I serve on the National Association of Counties’ Immigration Reform Taskforce as a Vice Chair, where I also have the opportunity to advocate directly with Whitehouse officials regarding these issues. I was able to bring a cohort of both NACo members, as well as members from the Texas Conference of Urban Counties to the borderland for them to tour our ports of entry and shelters on both sides of the border that attend to immigrants that are either stuck waiting for their turn in front of a judge, or that are passing through our area. Making sure as many people as possible have a deeper understanding of what happens on the border in the context of our broken immigration system has been a huge priority of mine, and will continue to be so if I am re-elected.