BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry issued the following statement at today’s Louisiana House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing on HB 151 by Valarie Hodges (R, Denham Springs):
“Thank you, Madame Chairwoman, for the opportunity to address your Committee on a crime issue that has been plaguing our country for years and, unfortunately, now plagues our State.
As Louisiana's chief legal officer, I committed to ensuring the rule of law is followed by everyone.
Like each of you, I took an oath to defend the Constitution. This pledge shall not be broken.
Unfortunately, sanctuary policies undermine justice and the rule of law. They jeopardize public safety and have a burdensome financial toll on government.
There are tens of thousands of illegal immigrants living in Louisiana - costing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Sanctuary policies encourage further illegal immigration, undermine anti-terrorism efforts, and promote an underground economy that sabotages the tax base.
Sanctuary policies also waste much-needed public resources as they force the federal government to find and arrest deportable criminals already taken into custody by local law enforcement.
Since you all worked so tirelessly in the special session to close the enormous budget gap here, I would like to share some relevant financials that come from the author's Immigration Task Force:
5,339 illegals receive SNAP benefits, known by many people as Food Stamps
Illegals are a $3.2 million burden on our state's prisons
Louisiana foots $16 million for Medicaid welfare coverage of illegals
These numbers were before New Orleans issued their policy guidance to its police officers requiring them not to inquire about the immigration status of suspects they encounter and to not cooperate with federal authorities - making New Orleans a sanctuary city.
At a time of such fiscal distress, you have the opportunity today to combat this toll on our State's economy.
It is interesting to me that some people will support harboring illegal aliens, but those same people will not support policy to put them to work.
By supporting these bills, you have the ability to clearly say that no one is above the law.
Sanctuary policies allow illegals to commit crime then roam free in our communities. It is an immense threat to the safety of our people.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently revealed that 1,867 illegals released by sanctuary cities last year were later arrested 4,298 times with 7,491 new crimes - including rape and child sex abuse. Unfortunately, 1,116 of them were not given to ICE and are considered at-large.
Besides fiscal and legal issues, there are many health concerns. For example: before my son went to kindergarten, he had to get a list of vaccinations. There is no telling what diseases illegals may bring and impose on our people, especially on children.
Those who support sanctuary cities should also support a sign in front of the city that says, “Terrorists Welcome Here.”
Foreign terrorists – such as members of ISIS – have the ability to travel to a city like New Orleans, commit a minor offense, and remain protected from being identified (due to sanctuary policies).
The citizens of our State and those who travel here from across the world deserve a Louisiana where elected officials are not actively undermining the rule of law.
I encourage you to stand with me, show your constituents that you believe protecting our communities is more important than shielding dangerous criminal illegals from immigration enforcement, and vote in favor of this bill.”