Legislation proposed by 19th District State Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, would increase cooperation between city, county and state jurisdictions on federal immigration enforcement efforts, according to a press release from Washington House Republicans.
“The politics and rhetoric around immigration has limited our ability to assure the safety of Washingtonians,” Walsh said in the release. “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.”
House Bill 2226 would “guarantee cooperation and communication between local and state law enforcement and federal immigration authorities,” according to the press release.
It would do so by removing prohibitions on state agencies — including the Washington State Patrol, sheriff’s offices, police departments and others — from assisting federal immigration efforts. Money and resources would also be made available.
Walsh said preventing local law enforcement officials from otherwise reporting lawfully detained individuals places a greater emphasis on the interests of those in the country illegally than citizens and legal residents.
“It's time to dismantle the false premise that cooperation is wrong or somehow not compassionate,” Walsh said. “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 legislative session began last Monday.