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Broken Borders

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Texas To Pass 'Sanctuary' Ban That Could Jail Police, SheriffsPolitics

April 29th 2017

Border Patrol

The House of Representatives of Texas passed by a 93-54 vote on Thursday a measure that would ban so-called “sanctuary” cities which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in the state. It would also empower law enforcement agencies to require anyone detained to reveal their immigration status — whether or not they are arrested or ever charged with a crime. Immigration status could thus be asked for persons stopped for jaywalking or other such offenses.
 
SB 4 would compel local jurisdictions to comply with immigrant detainer requests issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. In Texas and elsewhere in the country, there are local jurisdictions that have refused to reveal the immigration status of persons in their custody and have failed to keep persons in detention when asked by ICE. The Texas Senate approved a similar measure in February. 
If signed into the law, the Texas state government would be empowered to cut funding from local governments that act as sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. While other states have seen efforts to enact similar policies in the past, SB4 would allow the jailing of police chiefs and sheriffs for failing to enforce immigration laws. Also, their jobs would be in jeopardy. Republicans insist that the bill does not discriminate against illegal immigrants but does target illegal alien criminals. While the term “sanctuary cities” has no legal definition, Republicans say they want local police to assist federal immigration authorities and thus crackdown on criminal aliens in the U.S.
 
Critics of the legislation insist that it promotes racial profiling in a state that is 40 percent Latino. In an interview with WFAA radio, Democratic Rep. Mary Gonzalez said, “We aren’t exaggerating when we say that the people who will be empowered by this amendment will be the criminals.” She added, “We’re not exaggerating...when we say the people who will feel the biggest effects of this are the most vulnerable, the women, the children, the survivors of sexual assault, rape, human traffickers, the people who will feel the disconnect from law enforcement, the people who are supposed to make them safe.”
 
Advocates of the bill credit the House’s Freedom Caucus members, the Dallas Observer reported.
The measure, which now goes for Gov. Gregg Abbott’s signature, has been compared to SB1070, a bill in Arizona which allowed local law enforcement to request the citizenship status of anyone deemed by an officer to be an undocumented immigrant during an arrest or detention. Governor has addressed the sanctuary city issue, especially for state’s capital, Austin, a priority issue. Banning sanctuary cities, Republican Abbott said in January, is “an emergency item,” thus prompting Republican lawmakers to take action. Republicans in the Texas House and Senate must now reconcile their two versions of the bill
 
Democrats, even while they do not have sufficient votes, have vowed to do everything they can to stop it. Democrats and immigrant advocates are fiercely opposed to the legislation, as are some lobbies for law enforcement and big business. Opponents of the bill say it would cause discrimination and intimidation. Sheriffs and police chiefs in heavily Democratic areas warn that it would make their jobs more difficult if immigrants cease to trust police.
 
Arizona’s SB1070 or “The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” was the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in many years. The act made it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents, barred state or local officials or agencies from restricting federal immigration law, and required that state law enforcement officers attempt to determine an individual's immigration status during a "lawful stop, detention or arrest", among other provisions. It was signed into law by Republican governor Jan Brewer and was scheduled to go into effect on July 29, 2010. However, legal challenges over its civil rights implications were presented by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, which called for an injunction against enforcement of the law. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocked some of the law's controversial provisions. However, in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. United States to uphold the law’s provision requiring immigration status checks during law enforcement stops but struck down three other provisions as violations of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.

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