Rep. Jim Walsh’s bill seeks more cooperation with immigration enforcement activities

Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, has introduced a bill for the 2020 session that would remove barriers and allow for local, county and state cooperation on federal immigration enforcement efforts.

Walsh says that his bill seeks to prioritize public safety above the furor that surrounds immigration issues.  He calls support of local law enforcement and federal authorities a top priority in a growing list of necessary state government reforms.

“The politics and rhetoric around immigration has limited our ability to assure the safety of Washingtonians,” said Walsh. “Trust between local and federal law enforcement is essential to the fabric of our democracy. Breaking that trust damages our communities and leaves people unprotected. It's time to stop the quibbling and begin working with federal authorities to assure security threats are dealt with appropriately.”

Walsh's bill would guarantee cooperation and communication between local and state law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. House Bill 2226 would remove prohibitions on state agencies including the Washington State Patrol, county sheriff's offices, municipal police departments, and others from assisting in immigration enforcement activities. Funds and other resources could also be used to help. 

The 19th District lawmaker says barring local law enforcement from otherwise reporting lawfully detained individuals places a greater emphasis on the interests of criminal aliens than citizens and legal residents. 

“It's time to dismantle the false premise that cooperation is wrong or somehow not compassionate,” continued Walsh. “Public officials are sworn to protect their constituents. That's exactly what my bill looks to do. Instead of obstructing, let's try cooperating so everyone stays safe.”

The 60-day 2020 legislative session began Monday, Jan. 13

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov