Texas House Undergoes Emotional Anti-Sanctuary Bill Debate

After almost 16 hours of emotional debate, the Texas House approved a bill early Thursday that seeks to ban "sanctuary cities" in a 93-54 vote.

Thousands more Texas children could soon have seat belts on the buses they ride to school.

The bill has already passed through the Texas Senate, and with a Republican majority in the state House, lawmakers who are against the bill are outnumbered. They also fear it would open the door to racial profiling and argue it's not needed because local jails already cooperate with immigration officers. "This bill specifically targets criminals who happen to be here illegally", Geren said. On top of considering targeting undocumented immigrants who receive public assistance and chronicling immigrant crime, the administration has floated a number of plans to strip sanctuary cities of funding (or more), which has resulted in a number of lawsuits against the administration. A version passed by the state Senate in March would allow immigration inquires of anyone who is detained, including during traffic stops.

But Democrats saw a bill that would encourage discrimination, and gave emotional pleas on the floor of the House for their Republican colleagues to pull the bill.

It also comes after a federal judge on Tuesday ruled that President Donald Trump exceeded his authority when he signed an executive order withholding federal money from "sanctuary" cities in the country.

Bill supporters believe the measure simply reinforces current laws and provides consistent guidelines to law enforcement.

SB 4 would require all law enforcement to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, which are voluntary requests to hold someone while their immigration status is investigated.

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But it's worth asking here, "What do we mean by 'enforcing immigration law?'" because here is where the bill really matters.

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.

But Neave told local media she's anxious the legislation will make immigrants afraid to report crimes or testify in court.

"Broad mandates for local law enforcement to take a more active role in immigration enforcement will further strain the relationship between local law enforcement and the diverse communities they serve", Acevedo wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

An amendment by El Paso Rep. Cesar Blanco that was rejected, would have allowed cops to recuse themselves from enforcing SB 4 based on their religion.

State Rep. Victoria Neave is fasting to protest Texas' anti-sanctuary cities' bill.

House passage Wednesday wouldn't get it there yet. While initially dropped from the House's bill, one state lawmaker added the provision back as an amendment which, after considerable legislative wrangling, was pushed through by the House's Freedom Caucus members, the Dallas Observer reported. Similar efforts have collapsed in the past, though, meaning the issue isn't yet fully settled.

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