Texas poised to pass 'sanctuary city' ban with jail penalty
- Author: Bernice Underwood Apr 28, 2017,
Apr 28, 2017, 0:57
And she says she won't eat anything until Wednesday, when Senate Bill 4 goes up for debate in the Texas House.
As the Texas House debated the measure, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who runs one of the nation's largest police forces, criticized the bill.
Fierce resistance has come from Texas Democrats and immigrants' rights organizations, as well as from some in law enforcement and top business lobbies.
Rep. Cesar Blanco tweeted, "SB4 supports racial profiling and blurs the line between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities". Texas would also be the first state where police officials could face criminal charges for not enforcing immigration law.
SB 4 breezed through the Senate and House committee.
The bishops expressed gratitude for the legislators who lead the opposition to the bill, as well as Catholics and others from throughout the state who opposed it. "Thousands of Catholics joined with fellow Texans to testify, rally and encourage their representatives to stop this legislation", explained Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the TCCB.
"My fear is that it will pass, but I am fasting and praying and hoping the hearts of other lawmakers will be soften to vote against this bill as well", she said. With tears in her eyes, Rep. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston, a former DREAMer who came to the country as an undocumented immigrant, said SB 4 will only perpetuate fear among immigrant families.
Gov. Greg Abbott has already vowed to sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.
The debate opened with emotional and oftentimes heated words from House Democrats, who pled with their Republican colleagues to avert instituting a racist and unnecessarily harsh piece of legislation. He noted that, despite the fact that Latino kids have made up the majority of public school students since 2011, the Legislature made historic public education cuts that year, and later the State Board of Education attempted to "eliminate our history in textbooks and in the curriculum standards". "The very notion that we were going to do a softer house bill is a complete farce".
Bill supporters believe the measure simply reinforces current laws and provides consistent guidelines to law enforcement.
"Today we've made real that fear", said Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio Democrat.
Lawmakers are working through more than 100 amendments. The rule would have set a 1 p.m. Tuesday deadline for proposed amendments to SB 4.
Officials say that Poland has signed its first deal to purchase liquefied natural gas from a US supplier, as the country seeks to cut its dependence on deliveries from Russian Federation.
Both President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been outspoken critics of sanctuary cities, threatening to pull federal and justice department funding from those who don't comply with immigration law and orders. The judge ruled that only funds related to immigration enforcement can be withheld, according to the Associated Press.