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Texas Senate Passes Bill Requiring Authorities to Check Immigration Status When Making Arrests

Today the AP featured a story over a new bill approved by our state’s Senate:

The Texas Senate has approved a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to run anyone arrested through a federal immigration enforcement program. The Secure Communities program identifies immigrants who could be deported because of their immigration status and is just one of several provisions in the bill approved by the Senate Thursday. The program is already used county jails. The bill by Republican Sen. Tommy Williams would also require proof of U.S. citizenship to obtain or renew a driver’s license if the information hasn’t been previously provided. Williams said that’s because a license no longer just gives permission to drive, but serves as a secure form of ID. The bill contains an additional $8 fee for a driver’s license that will go toward improving outdated technology and inadequate staffing.

I’m glad this bill passed. States are struggling to find solutions for out of control illegal immigration, and this bill successfully utilizes what federal help is available. This bill not only gives state authorities a way to ensure illegal immigrants are clearly identified, it also makes sure that holding a Texas drivers license is reserved for those who are legally in the state. Requiring proof of citizenship for obtaining and renewing drivers licenses is another small step to creating a well defined and solid defense against illegal immigration, and a defining requirement to help prove the residency of those who are in the states legally.

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