Texas House advances 'sanctuary cities' bill

Apr 28, 2017, 00:55

The 93-54 vote fell along party lines and came after one of the slowest moving but most emotional legislative days at the state Capitol. Governor Greg Abbott will nearly certainly sign the legislation, after designating SB 4 an emergency item earlier this session. A version passed by the state Senate in March would also allow immigration inquiries of anyone who is detained, including during traffic stops. Supporters say the bill is about enforcing the rule of law and ensuring jails across the state all follow the same rules. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, the bill's House sponsor. They also fear it would open the door to racial profiling and argue it's not needed because local jails already cooperate with immigration officers. None of the amendments passed.

"We're going to give them Hell today".

Texas Senator Jose Rodriguez tweeted, "SB4 is an attack on Hispanics and the immigrant community".

The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Republicans want local police to help federal authorities as part of a larger effort to crack down on criminal suspects who are in the USA illegally.

Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie said he believes the bill would allow strained relationships between officers and the community. "To be an immigrant is not a criminal act, but now the immigrant community will be more afraid to report criminal activity in our neighborhoods". Many of his colleagues decried what they called a "show me your papers law". "This will lead to less cooperation from members of the community and foster the belief that they can not seek assistance from police for fear of being subjected to an immigration status investigation".

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While SB4 is expected to pass, it won't come without a last minute fight from local and state civil liberties groups.

In Texas, that all changes under SB 4. Democrats said that would have given Republicans too much time to study the amendments and find ways to cut off debate. In light of that entire context, how are we supposed to swallow this?

"All I'm asking is for some understanding", Bernal said.

Hernandez praised House Democrats for spending hours speaking against the bill in a statement Thursday saying, "They recognized the cost of forcing local law enforcement to do the job of the federal government and the liability it places upon us". "And so we know that this goes above and beyond what the "rule of law" is". I saw mothers trembling. "If you've succeeded in anything, members, you've succeeded in terrifying an entire community", Anchia said. "I remember the constant fear my family lived with each day and the fear my parents experienced each day as their two little girls went to school, not knowing if there would be an immigration raid that day", she said.

Neave, a Democrat who represents areas in Dallas, Mesquite and Garland, Texas, hasn't eaten since she received Holy Communion while attending Mass this past Sunday at Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas.

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