An ongoing battle over sanctuary cities has been renewed in Texas with legislation that would force local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration rules.
A report on TWC News stated legislation was pre-filed in November in Austin. If successful, it will boost the role local law enforcement officers play in enforcing federal immigration laws.
Texas Republicans say cracking down on undocumented immigrants in Texas is key to enforcing President-elect Donald Trump’s new stance on immigration.
Legislation on sanctuary cities has been filed by Senator Charles Perry who believes it would stop undocumented immigrants with a criminal past returning to the streets of the Lone Star State.
Sanctuary cities are places that offer some degree of protection to undocumented immigrants from federal crackdowns.
These shelter cities do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to enforce federal immigration laws.
Often government employees in sanctuary cities are often instructed not to inquire about the immigration status or residents and told not to report undocumented workers.
The list changes but Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Brownsville have been described as sanctuary cities.
Trump pledged to eliminate sanctuary cities during his successful election campaign.
Legislators Take Aim at Sanctuary Cities
Perry’s bill is similar to one he filed during the last session. He said he’s more optimistic he’ll be successful this time with a Republican president and the GOP in charge of both houses nationally. Perry said the electorate made it clear solving the “illegal immigration crisis” was a top priority.
The bill would require county jails across Texas to cooperate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when the agency seeks to deport undocumented immigrants.
In Austin and, to some degree San Antonio, officers are barred from asking about a suspect’s immigration status when they make an arrest, reported TWC.
The scene is already set for in-fighting with state Democrats who claim the law would be discriminatory and have blocked efforts to end sanctuary cities in the past.
One of the most prominent critics of the bills, Senator Sylvia Garcia, claims the laws are discriminatory and would legitimize racial profiling. She believes it would prevent witnesses coming forward with information about crimes for fear of facing deportation.
Texas’ Lt. Governor Dan Patrick welcomed the quick filing of the legislation. He claimed cities that act as safe havens for undocumented immigrants are really creating a magnet for illegal immigration.
If you are an undocumented immigrant living in Texas you may have many concerns. For legal help, call Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445.