Texas Bill to Ban 'Sanctuary Cities' Heads to Governor's Desk

Lauren Perry
May 19, 2017

Texas Representative Gene Wu, a Democrat, delivered the impassioned remark during a debate about Senate Bill 4 at the state House of Representatives last Wednesday.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott quickly tweeted: "I'm getting my signing pen warmed up". They've vowed to challenge the bill in court.

Abbott has urged lawmakers to pass a bill this session that bans "sanctuary cities" - places where local officials do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities. One of the few carve-outs Republicans allowed during marathon and divisive debates in the Texas Capitol was exempting churches.

Austin City Council member Greg Casar, a staunch opponent of state-based immigration proposals, was also released and told protesters the fight on SB 4 was only beginning. Instead of trusting their expertise, Republicans fast-tracked legislation that will make our communities less safe.

More fireworks could come Thursday, when the House votes to formally have Texas endorse the convention.

The Texas bill allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation.

A bill to ban "sanctuary cities" cleared its final hurdle in the Texas Legislature Wednesday when the Senate voted to accept changes made last week in the House.

"Though elements of the current test have importance, this bill acknowledges that there are some things our students absolutely must understand and appreciate before they finish high school", Ashby said at a March hearing on the bill in the House Public Education Committee.

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"The fee is now so high that it impairs a lot of people's ability to get a license to carry", said Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, author of the House companion bill.

The Texas Senate has unanimously approved harsher penalties for female genital mutilation in the country's second-largest state.

Grant police officers the authority to question a detained person's immigration status, even during a minor offense.

"Their loss of faith in law enforcement is accomplished", she said.

"Are you aware that because of this legislation, hundreds of thousands of Texans are preparing for the passage of this, preparing in terms of, 'What are we going to do if our undocumented father is asked for documentation?'" Whitmire said.

The Bill follows efforts by President Donald Trump to step up deportations and crack down on cities, including NY and Chicago, that his administration describes as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants.

The bill would also force local jails to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers - requests from ICE to hold detainees and prisoners up to 48 hours so federal agents can pick them up.

SB4 passed over fierce opposition from Texas Democrats and immigration advocacy groups, who say it will give police power to discriminate against Hispanic residents and ultimately harm the trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement.

Other reports by VgToday

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