State Senator Kel Seliger (R) Amarillo, spoke to the Backgate Website yesterday regarding the hiring of immigrant Correctional Officers on temporary work visa status by the TDCJ. Back in 2009, Senator Seliger was interviewed by an Amarillo television station in regards to his stance on the issue. Senator Seliger stated that he was opposed to the hiring of employees under that basis. We spoke to Senator Seliger yesterday via telephone, and asked him what his thoughts were today. Senator Seliger stated that it's not an issue of the immigrant status, its a safety issue based on communication.
As TDCJ is again over 2,000 Officers short statewide, the number of employees on any given facility are fewer then once before. That makes communication key in emergency situations that come up on those units. The ability to effectively understand and communicate are important in this type of environment. Senator Seliger also expressed our concern in the current Background investigations that are conducted on potential employees coming from overseas. The lack of available information on those originating from overseas poses issues with the ability to effectively verify an employees criminal record, education, and many other factors. Senator Seliger stated that he will revisit these issues with the TDCJ, and during the next Legislative session in Austin.