This week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) met with local law enforcement officials across the 2nd Congressional District to discuss the problems surrounding illegal immigration on the local level. The lack of border security has created a tremendous burden on every level of law enforcement, Poe said. Their opinions should be heard on this issue. After all, it is the lack of action on the part of the Federal Government that has allowed their jails and streets to swell with illegal immigrants.

Congressman Poe opened the meeting by discussing the Federal 287(g) program which provides funding for state and local law enforcement to train their officers in enforcing immigration laws and the H(u) Visa which allows an illegal immigrant to stay in the country temporarily as a victim of crime or witness to a crime. Congressman Poe recently offered an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that would add $41 Million in funding to the program. While the effort received resounding support, the amendment was defeated with the understanding the program is to receive full funding from other resources. This is a vital program for local and state law enforcement agencies, said Poe. I will continue to follow this promise to fund the 287(g) program closely and make sure that it receives the federal money it deserves.

After Congressman Poe concluded his opening remarks the meeting continued with each official at the table offering their opinions and suggestions on how to address the illegal immigration issue. In that round table discussion the general consensus was reached that there needs to be effective federal border enforcement before addressing the other issues. The message was loud and clear, If we want to help local law enforcement we need to stop the flood of illegal immigrants coming in to this country, said Poe.

Last month Congressman Poe made his second trip to the Texas/Mexico Border to assess the situation there. Illegal immigration is just that, illegal. I have discussed the problem with Sheriffs, Police Chiefs and land owners from Laredo to Houston and they all tell me the same thing. Getting control of the border must be our first priority, Poe said.

Congressman Poe hosted meetings in Humble and Beaumont. On hand for the meetings were the Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt, Harris County Pct. 4 Constable Ron Hickman, Harris County Pct. 4 Asst. Chief Deputy Larry Shiflet, Harris County Sheriff Chief Deputy Danny Billingsley, Cleveland Police Chief Ike Hines, Humble Police Chief Gary Warman, Baytown Police Chief Byron Jones, Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur, Liberty County Sheriff Chief Deputy Don Neyland, Liberty County Sheriff Captain Chip Fairchild, Spring ISD Police Chief Alan Bragg, North Harris Montgomery Community College District Police Department Director Richard Greggory, Humble ISD Police Chief Soloman Cook, Beaumont Fire Chief & Emergency Management Coordinator Micky Bertrand, Nederland Police Chief Darrel Bush, Beaumont Fire Marshall Jack Maddox, and Port Arthur Police Deputy Chief Raymond Clark.