Texas Legislature passes ban on so-called 'sanctuary cities'
Texas Legislature passes ban on so-called 'sanctuary cities'
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05 May, 2017, 00:18
On Wednesday, lawmakers in Texas passed the final version of Senate Bill 4, a controversial anti-immigration measurethat would ban sanctuary cities across the state.
Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign the measure, known as Senate Bill 4, into law, over the emotional objections of Democratic legislators and opposition from a wide range of groups, including police organizations, who said it would break down trust between law enforcement and minority communities.
The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Republicans want local police to help federal immigration agents crack down on criminal suspects in the USA illegally.
A Texas representative gave an impassioned speech, opposing a bill banning "sanctuary city" policies.
Calling it a "status quo bill", Perry said during the debate that his SB4 does not force a police officer to inquire about a person's immigration status nor does it allow an officer to stop someone merely to ask about their status.
"SB 4 will make our communities more dangerous, not safer, as we presume the legislature intended". Those who rage against illegal immigration present sanctuary cities-where authorities typically do not check the residency status of people they encounter or detain-as defying the federal government. One bill up for debate today is Senate Bill 21, which outlines the qualifications, duties and limits of Texas delegates if a convention were called.
In February the same House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee killed another bill, House Bill 1134, that would have allowed police chiefs, sheriffs and other public officials to be arrested, as well.
The group also delivered letters signed by hundreds of faith leaders across the state, asking lawmakers to oppose the almost two dozen active bills they say discriminates against the LGBT community in Texas.
Clergy also distributed a second letter signed by 104 national religious leaders who said they were committed to embracing "the diversity of God's creation". On Wednesday evening, Abbott tweeted that he was "getting [his] signing pen warmed up". Charles Perry, a Republican from Lubbock.
Sheriff Bruce Hartman of Gilpin County, representing the County Sheriffs of Colorado, said local law enforcement has to follow the Constitution and court decisions, and those decisions have found immigration detainers to extend jail time to be unconstitutional.
The measure would fine local governments up to $25,500 a day for policies that block immigration enforcement.
The decrease is expected to cost Texas almost $22 million over the life of the 2018-2019 state budget that the Legislature is still devising. Law enforcement representatives from all these cities called out the measure in an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News, saying: "SB 4 is not the answer to immigration reform; rather it is political pandering that will make our communities more unsafe".
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"I'm going to have to explain to my spouse why she's been dragged into my candidacy", he said. But that bill contained a major difference from the Senate version, striking out a provision that would make it a felony for delegates to vote for amendments other than those Texas has already approved.
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