Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) was one of four Members of Congress to participate in the field hearing by the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations in Houston earlier this week. The focus of the hearing was to hear from law enforcement, state, county and local officials, as well as citizens on the effects of crimes committed by illegal immigrants on their communities and lives.

The failure by the federal government to protect our borders has a direct impact on our local communities and poses a grave threat to our national security, said Poe. Testimony presented at this hearing also showed that an unsecured border jeopardizes the personal safety of all Americans. The information presented at this hearing was important to our future and I urge all of my colleagues to take notice of what is going on in our country.

As the founder and chair of the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus, Congressman Poe took special interest in the testimony by the victims of crime. Texas State Trooper Steven Stone testified about his violent encounter with an illegal immigrant during a routine traffic stop in Tyler, Texas. Trooper Stone was shot six times by Francisco Salcedo who had been deported twice prior to his attack on Stone. Miraculously, Stone survived the attack and was able to tell his story at the hearing. The failure to enforce our borders nearly cost this brave young man his life, said Poe. The lawlessness on the border doesnt stop there, this took place some 300 miles from the Texas/Mexico border. The violence spilling over our unprotected borders is a threat to us all.

The Committee also heard from the parents of Felicia Ruiz as they testified about the brutal murder of their daughter at the hands of a gang member who had been in our country illegally since he was a child. Felicia refused to join their gang and in retaliation was viscously beaten, stabbed over 30 times and left for dead in a pile of dirt. The suspect was taken into custody for questioning in Felicias murder, but was never asked of his citizenship status. Shortly after walking out of the police station he fled to his native country of Venezuela where he still remains free today.

Not everyone coming to the United States illegally is coming for a better life, said Poe. Some are coming to destroy ours. Todays testimony proved that the blatant disregard for our laws doesnt stop with the illegal entry into our country; lawlessness breeds more lawlessness. On behalf of these victims, and the many others like them, I will continue to work to put an end to the illegal entry into our country. I support legal immigration, but Americans should not lose their lives because the federal government does not have the will to secure our borders.

Congressman Poe serves on the House Committee on International Relations, Terrorism Subcommittee, the Congressional Border Security Caucus and founder and chair of the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus.