National

Texas House OKs 'sanctuary city' ban with tough jail penalty

- The Texas House on Wednesday will debate a proposal to punish cities and counties that refused to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

Hours into the debate, lawmakers passed an amendment to the bill that would allow local law enforcement officials to enquire about an individual's immigration status upon detainment, rather than strictly after an individual has been arrested. Charlie Geren, the bill's lead sponsor in the house, couldn't give Democratic state Representative Carol Alvarado a single example of a sanctuary city in the state. State lawmakers are passing a bill requiring that local law enforcement officials actively participate in the deportation process by holding suspected deportable immigrants on the demand of the federal government (note that the law doesn't apply if the detained person has proof of USA citizenship). That amount could increase to $25,000 if the authorities continue to violate this proposed law.

"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.

Through it all, Geren stood his ground and said the bill wasn't about targeting minorities or about racial profiling.

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Proponents of the legislation say that it is about the rule of law and ensuring law enforcement agencies follow the same policies.

Turner said Republicans shoulder the full burden for passing out the controversial measure, despite Schaefer's claims that Democrats had the opportunity to keep out some of the most controversial language. Greg Abbott in the early days of the 85th legislative session.

Texas Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, at podium, is surrounded by fellow lawmakers as he speaks against an anti-"sanctuary cities" bill that has already cleared the Texas Senate and seeks to jail sheriffs and other officials who refu. Democrats and some Republicans had objected to the provision allowing police to ask about legal status, but the the bill eventually passed with the support of the House tea party faction.

"Today we saw legislators scrambling to turn their anti-immigrant brand of race-based hate into laws that would criminalize families and children, and people of color in Texas", Karla Perez, an undocumented law student from the University of Houston Law Center and state coordinator with United We Dream, said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, a federal judge in San Francisco stopped President Donald Trump from withholding money from sanctuary cities. He has already cut off state funding to Travis County for its new sheriff's policies.

Opponents of the measure say it would make communities less safe as many undocumented immigrants would be reluctant to reach out to police for fear of being deported.

"This is a show-me-your-papers law". "I could see the fear in their eyes", Naeve said. However, they vowed to fight it at every step, promising hours of emotionally charged debate on Wednesday before the Texas House votes.

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