Texas Senate Bill 4 would allow police officers to ask people they arrest or detain about their immigration status, and could mean jail for police chiefs, sheriffs and constables who don't comply with detainer requests.
After the Senate took its final vote, the Governor tweeted: "I'm getting my signing pen warmed up". Senate Bill 4, which was approved by a House vote Wednesday, would void the kind of policies San Antonio and most big-city police departments have on the books barring officers from inquiring about immigration status in routine police encounters.
Among other things, SB 4 allows local police to make instant decisions about complex federal immigration law, which is a recipe for discriminatory constitutional violations.
The lawmakers that supported HB4, however, have argued that will protect Texas from serious criminals, echoing claims made by President Donald Trump.
Those detainers are at the center of the debate on sanctuary cities, as feds argue they allow ICE to pick up potentially risky criminal aliens before they are released to the streets. This is about the rule of law.
"Will we see a pattern in practice of individuals being detained based on national origin or racial profiling?" she said.
In a statement last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described an "urgent need" to ban sanctuary cities across Texas, noting such policies "put the lives of our citizens at risk". Abbott already has withheld $1.5 million in state grants for Travis County, home of the state capital, to punish the sheriff for her stand on immigration detainers. She has said she will conform to the state's ban if it becomes law. "SB 4 will ensure that no liberal local official can flaunt the law", Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patricksaid.
"Banning sanctuary cities is about stopping officials who have sworn to enforce the laws from helping people who commit awful crimes evade immigration detainers", Perry said in a statement. He said the law won't turn local law enforcement into federal immigration agents. Opponents say it opens the door to discrimination and intimidation.
"The enforcement side, you're going to have people that are actually taken into custody for the objective of determining their national origin", Flores said.
The post Texas bans "sanctuary cities" amid nationwide debate appeared first on PBS NewsHour. This bill does nothing to make our state safer for our fellow Texans, if anything it will make us less safe and numerous law enforcement officials have testified just as much.
When the bill was approved in the Senate, floor discussion focused on classes that are sometimes offered in Houston and elsewhere around Texas that help students obtain Florida gun licenses, since that state's license will work in Texas but has lower fees.