A bill by 19th District Representative Jim Walsh 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 and 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. 

It  would also eliminate the possibility of state or local entities enacting a “sanctuary policy” that would prohibit agencies to cooperate with a federal immigration agency from immigration enforcement

“A state entity, law enforcement agency, or local governmental entity may not adopt or have in effect a sanctuary policy.”

Funds and other resources could also be used to help. 

Walsh 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