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Texas Legislature passes ban on so-called 'sanctuary cities'

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Texas Legislature passes ban on so-called'sanctuary cities' bill heads to governor's desk

With nearly no debate, the Texas House passed a separate bill, Senate Bill 21, that outlines the duties of Texas delegates if the convention were to happen.

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. Under the ban, local jurisdictions that do not comply with federal immigration laws could face fines of up to $25,000 per day and police chiefs, sheriffs, mayors, and cops could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, the most serious misdemeanor category in the state.

"It's always been about the rule of law", said bill sponsor Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, was sent to the governor on Thursday.

"I am deeply grieved but wholly unsurprised that anti-immigrant lawmakers in the Texas House have taken a wrongheaded, racist piece of legislation and made it a "show me your papers" bill", Terri Burke, the executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said in a released statement. They said the bill will push immigrant families further into the shadows and deter them from coming forward to cooperate as witnesses or report crimes, including when they're the victim.

The bill also prohibits local governments from passing legislation that prohibits a police officer from inquiring a detained person about his or her immigration status. He called it "hateful and discriminatory" and said such acts are contributing to a rise in white nationalist propaganda on college campuses.

"The enforcement side, you're going to have people that are actually taken into custody for the goal of determining their national origin", Flores said. Despite their efforts, it's unlikely Gov. Abbott will change his mind, especially since he's already led his own anti-sanctuary city crusade in recent months. Thank you Texas House for today's vote.

Known as Senate Bill 4, the legislation is all but guaranteed to become law.

Despite protests, sit-ins and hours of emotional testimony at the capitol, the State of Texas is another step closer to initiating a law banning so-called sanctuary cities. SB 1070 required officers conducting a stop to "make a reasonable attempt" to verify immigration status and gave them the authority to transfer individuals suspected of violating immigration law to federal custody.

But several law enforcement leaders have said the bill will erode the public's trust. Many police departments say the measure will hurt their relationships with the immigrant community.

But SB 4 should also be seen as part of a more grandiose GOP objective: As Democrats noted on the House floor last Wednesday, six separate judicial opinions have found that Texas intentionally discriminated against minorities (among them: the voter ID law and congressional maps). "I think it's one of those bills that, true or untrue, creates a misconception, at least in this area, that police are going to be against some citizens", said Republican Commissioner Andrew Haggerty.

"Addressing the primary reason undocumented persons enter this state would free law enforcement to address those people who are committing crimes". "I'm getting my signing pen warmed up", he posted on Twitter.

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