Top Democrat Brands Texas Sanctuary City Bill ‘Anti-Christian’
Texas Democrats have only one chance left to defeat Senate Bill 4, which is legislation that would not only ban sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State but would also penalize local officials who ignore the order.
S.B. 4 was approved by the Texas Senate on Wednesday after two days of emotional debate. Not a single Democrat cast a vote in favor of the bill.
A Texas Democratic Party statement warned the legislation would do nothing but “draft our community police into the deportation force.”
S.B. 4 would allow Texas officials to punish local governments that fail to work with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers by handing over immigrants in their local jails for deportation.
State funding could be stripped from communities that refuse to comply, as Gov. Greg Abbott (R) did to Travis County in January. The communities could also be subject to civil fines.
But who does that really hurt? Taxpayers?
S.B. 4 as approved by the Senate also offers criminal penalties against those in local governments who approve so-called “Sanctuary City” status and order their police not to cooperate with ICE.
Local officials who disobey the law could be hit with a $4,000 fine and a year in jail.
Democrats like Sen. Sylvia Garcia of Houston said the punishment language of S.B. 4 went too far.
“What’s the next [amendment] going to do?” Garcia said. “Take their firstborn children?”
Sen. Charles Perry (R), who sponsored the legislation, said his motivation was to be sure the rule of law was followed and every police department in Texas followed the same procedures.
As far as Perry is concerned, any local official who finds himself in jail or any community that is penalized millions of dollars in state funding for violating the law will have only themselves to blame.
“This bill ensures that there is predictability that our laws are applied without prejudice no matter who is in custody,” he said during the debate.
But Sen. John Whitmire (D) said the legislation’s punishment provisions would only encourage overzealous enforcement. He also argued that when it comes to racial profiling, perception can be reality.
“They see the characteristics of someone that they think could be undocumented, and they hold them,” said Whitmire. “This is not whether we believe officers or not. This is what people believe your legislation is doing.”
Democrats tried to change the bill to their liking by proposing 38 amendments, all of which were rejected.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa predicted the “Trump Republicans’ S.B. 4 will morally and economically bankrupt our great state.”
Outraged as Hinojosa, Whitmire and his nine fellow Texas Senate Democrats were — one was absent the afternoon of the vote — their defeat did not come as a total shock to Democrats and other opponents of the legislation. They expected the Senate to approve the legislation and were looking forward to the real battle to come in the House.