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Cornyn and Texas border sheriffs meet with Department of Homeland Security Secretary

Immigration reform, border security and law enforcement funding top agenda

From the Office of Senator John Cornyn

May 2, 2007

Government - Senator Cornyn pictureWASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the top Republican on the Immigration and Border Security subcommittee, met with Texas border sheriffs and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on Tuesday in Washington. The meeting, held at Sen. Cornyn’s request, focused on issues important to the border region, including border security, immigration reform and funding for law enforcement efforts.

“It is essential that local officials along the border continue to have input as we work to secure the border,” Sen. Cornyn said. “This meeting was a good opportunity for Texas border sheriffs to voice their needs and concerns directly to Secretary Chertoff.”

The meeting was part of Sen. Cornyn’s ongoing efforts to ensure the voices of state and local officials are being heard in Washington . He has continually worked in the Senate to assist the law enforcement community with resources to crack down on violence, drug smuggling and other crimes.

On hand for the discussion were members of the Southwest Border Sheriffs Coalition (SWBSC) from Texas and other border states , including Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr., of Zapata County , Texas —Chairman of the SWBSC Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Leaders of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition and the National Sheriffs Association also participated.

“We must provide those who work on the front lines of border security every day the resources they need to do their jobs,” Sen. Cornyn said. “I will continue working closely with law enforcement officials and other local leaders on the border as we work to improve border security and reform our broken immigration system.”

Sen. Cornyn reiterated his support for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which reimburses states and counties for the costs of detaining illegal immigrants arrested in connection with crimes other than immigration violations. He said Congress must provide adequate funding for the program. In addition, Sen. Cornyn co-sponsored an amendment last year to provide $50 million for border law enforcement.

Sen. Cornyn said reforming our immigration laws and securing our borders is among the top priorities this year for Congress. “We’ve taken some needed steps to improve border security, but we can and must do more,” Sen. Cornyn said.

The Southwest Border Sheriffs Coalition unites sheriffs’ departments in counties along the border in Texas , New Mexico , Arizona and California in their law enforcement efforts.

Earlier this year, Sen. Cornyn hosted a similar meeting in Laredo with Texas border mayors, county judges and Secretary Chertoff. That meeting came as a follow-up to a discussion in Washington co-hosted by Sens. Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Sen. Cornyn serves on the Armed Services, Judiciary and Budget Committees. In addition, he is Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Refugees subcommittee and the Armed Services Committee’s Airland subcommittee. He served previously as Texas Attorney General, Texas Supreme Court Justice, and Bexar County District Judge.

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