After years of relative silence, a contentious piece of legislation has resurfaced with renewed vigor at this week’s Senate border security subcommittee. The updated bill, penned four years ago by Sen. Charles Perry (R) of Lubbock, would allow police to question individuals they have stopped about their current immigration status.
Presently, there are a number of “sanctuary cities” throughout Texas that outlaw the practice; this bill would lift the ban.
Supporters of the bill suggest it would bolster public safety efforts while not forcing police into a compromising position. Objectors insist the practice will lead to increased racial profiling as well as damaging economic growth in the respective counties.
Despite hefty support from then Governor, and Presidential hopeful, Rick Perry, the bill failed to pass the Senate in 2011.
As the bill’s author, Senator Charles Perry believes the time is right for this kind of divisive legislation: “Common sense would only say that if we are going to spend $800 million in our next biennium on border security, does it make sense to allow individual cities … to undermine that effort?”
The bill is currently connected to a larger border security legislation, which may improve its odds significantly. Perry insists his bill differs greatly from a hotly debated Arizona state law concerning similar action. The Texas bill would tell police officers and cities what they are not permitted to do, rather than telling them what to do.
Regardless of what language is used in the bill and by law enforcement, the debate over this kind of legislation will likely continue for some time. While lawmakers spent a great deal of the week pouring over the proposed bill, they have yet to schedule a time to vote.
If you have any questions concerning this law or similar immigration issues, contact the attorneys at Peek & Toland for more information.