|Texas Senator Kel Seliger, Amarillo|
In 2009, State Senator Kel Seliger (R) from Amarillo, went on record as being opposed to the practice of TDCJ hiring immigrants on temporary work visa status in the United States. At the time of his remarks in 2009, TDCJ employed 30 immigrant workers, with the majority coming from Nigeria and other African countries. The number now is predicted to be far higher and estimated as high as 50, although a TDCJ spokesperson provided a statement that stated there were now only 26 immigrant employees working under immigrant visa status in the agency. Of those 26, the "majority" were said to be assigned to units in Region III. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Department of Labor, who also document immigrant workers, have both received official information requests from the Backgate and reps from both federal agencies state that documentation is being processed to provide accurate numbers.
The Backgate reached out to Senator Seliger last week about the potential increase in hiring of immigrant employees by TDCJ, and was also advised of the lack of cooperation provided by the TDCJ in providing those numbers to the general public. Senator Seliger is expected to provide the Backgate a phone interview this week. Details of that interview will posted here. Stay tuned.