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

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, expressed excitement Wednesday about signing legislation that will effectively block so-called "sanctuary cities" in the Lone Star State.

Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, predicted that the harsh sanctuary bill will ultimately backfire, as it did in California, where anti-immigrant ballot measures passed in the 1990s led to a "political awakening" for Latinos.

Texas Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, answers questions as the Texas House debates an anti-sanctuary-cities bill that seeks to jail sheriffs and other officials who refuse to help enforce federal immigration law, in Austin, April 26, 2017. The Senate passed a number of key pieces of legislation this week before the chamber's attention turns to House bills coming in from the opposite side of the Capitol.

President Donald Trump made cracking down on illegal immigration a cornerstone of his campaign and signed an executive order earlier this year to withhold federal funds from cities that refuse to cooperate with USA immigration officials.

A controversial sanctuary cities crackdown awaiting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's signature could put one county in particular in a tough spot, thanks to an obscure legal settlement from a decade ago.

Steglich, along with immigrant rights advocates, also said both bills result in a chilling effect among immigrant communities and people of color.

Last week on the House floor, the bill drew comparisons to Arizona's SB 1070, which was signed into law in 2010. It's also a preview of how the central paradox of the sanctuary debate-the bills are advanced as law-and-order initiatives but are nearly uniformly opposed by big-city police chiefs-will play out in Washington if Congress decides to take up the issue.

The House is expected to conduct one final vote on the measure Thursday before it heads to the Senate. Her bill, SB 2190, would cut benefits for retirees in exchange for $1 billion in bonds to shore up the current system.

The practice is already prohibited by federal and Texas law.

Republicans believe it is a huge win for Texas. During the stop, Starr said the deputy asked passengers about their immigration status and arrested a few who could not show papers.

Frank Sharry, executive director of the America's Voice Education Fund, said the bill "attacks the civil rights of every Texan who might look or sound like they are from somewhere else, even if their families have lived in the Lone Star State for generations". In an op-ed in the Dallas News, David Pughes, the interim chief of police for Dallas, and Art Acevedo, the chief of police for Houston, said that this bill will create a bigger divide between police and immigrant groups and increase crime against immigrants. "I'm afraid this is going to create that". As an alternative, 34 legislatures, representing two-thirds of the 50 states, can call for convening a convention to draft constitutional amendments - though getting lawmakers in different states to agree on what priorities they'd like to see such a convention tackle hasn't been easy.

"SB 4 is a bill to say "do what the law is today" and we've made it look like a demon that it's not", said Perry, R-Lubbock.

However, that didn't deter local activists, who on Monday staged an all-day sit-in at the State Insurance Building (the place of Abbott's office).