Texas Lawmaker Wants to Stop ‘Sanctuary Cities’

ice-riverAUSTIN, Texas (CN) – Emboldened by the election of Donald Trump and Republicans’ coming control of Congress, a state senator filed a bill to end “sanctuary cities” in Texas and force compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers.

State Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, filed Senate Bill 4 on Tuesday.

A similar bill he filed in the previous legislative session, two years ago, failed by one vote.

The bill requires police officers to provide notice to a judge or magistrate that an arrested person is illegally in the country if he or she cannot prove a legal right to be in the country within 48 hours.

It would allow people to file complaints with the Texas attorney general if local authorities carry out sanctuary city policies that discourage enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The attorney general would then have authority to enjoin the alleged violations in court and the local entity would be denied state grant money for the following year.

Perry cited the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco in 2015, accusing the city of being unwilling to comply with an immigration detainer on her alleged killer.

“Her tragic death led to a national uproar highlighting why we cannot have policies that allow for violent criminal aliens to walk our streets freely,” Perry said in a statement Thursday.

“Put simply, sanctuary city policies are any policies that prevent law enforcement from enforcing immigration laws already on the books. This can include, but is not limited to, prohibiting officers from inquiring about immigration status of suspected criminals or ignoring immigration detainers in our corrections system.”

Perry called the Nov. 8 general election “truly a referendum on the lawless Obama Administration that set aside the basic foundation of civil society – the rule of law – to advance personal agenda.”

Perry said more than 204,000 criminal aliens were in Texas jails between June 1, 2011 and Oct. 31 this year.

“Of those, 66 percent were identified as being in the U.S. illegally at the time of their last arrest,” Perry said. “These arrests include 1,101 homicide charges, 65,118 assault charges, and 5,745 sexual assault charges.”

Gov. Greg Abbott criticized Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez in October 2015 after she said she would no longer comply with immigration hold requests for people accused of minor offenses.

“Your decision to not fully honor ICE’s requests to detain criminal immigrants poses a serious danger to Texans,” Abbott told the sheriff at the time. “These detainers provide ICE with the critical notice and time it needs to take incarcerated immigrants into federal custody.”

Sanctuary cities are named for the Sanctuary movement of the 1980s, in which U.S. churches nationwide opened their doors to refugees from wars in Central America that killed half a million people, most of them civilians, in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras.

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