The Republican-controlled Texas House passed the measure late Monday, on the eve of President Obama’s fundraising swing through the state, and over the whines of the local Democrats.
The measure would prohibit local governments from banning law enforcement officers asking about the immigration status of people who are lawfully detained or arrested. Republican Governor Rick Perry designated the measure as one of his emergency priorities for the legislative session.
“It simply prevents cities from telling officers to turn a blind eye to violators of federal law,” said the bill’s author, Republican Burt Solomons.
But House Democrats spoke emotionally during the debate about how the bill could lead to racial profiling.
“It’s the largest anti-Hispanic bill I’ve seen in Texas,” Democrat Trey Martinez Fischer told reporters.
Trey Martinez-Fischer is so quick to play the race card — he plays it in every debate, every chance he gets — I’m tempted to call him a racist. Instead I’ll just call him a Democrat, since there is so much more to these policies than the race-baiting that gets the headlines. There is the security, or lack thereof, on the border. There are the economics, as illegal aliens cost the state billions every year. And there is the division that the Democrats try to exploit to give themselves an advantage. So it’s not just about Martinez-Fischer trying to intimidate Texans of all walks of life and background who care about the rule of law.
The Texas House measure is straightforward:
Under the sanctuary city measure, cities and other local entities could not prohibit law enforcement officers from assisting federal immigration officials. Local governments that fail to comply would forfeit state grant funds. The measure, which passed at nearly midnight Monday after the Republican majority forced an end to debate, would need a final vote in the House before it could go to the Senate.
So once it passes and gets signed…Texas can expect a lawsuit from DOJ anytime.
Update: Rasmussen rolls out a poll today showing strong support for cracking down on sanctuary cities.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a cutoff of federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities. Just 28% are opposed and 13% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
However, only 29% of voters think Congress is even somewhat likely to agree to cut off funds to cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Twice as many, 55% say Congress is unlikely to take such an action. Those figures include 9% who say Congress is Very Likely to act and 11% who say action is Not At All Likely. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure.
Regardless of Congressional action, 58% of voters think the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Twenty-six percent (26%) are opposed to having the Justice Department prosecute sanctuary cities and 16% are not sure. Those figures have changed little since last summer.