In one exchange, State Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) challenged one of the bill's leading advocates, State Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land), regarding the House's recent passage of the "Sanctuary Cities" bill. Governor Greg Abbott has promised to sign the bill into law sometime this week, and it could go into effect this September.
After hours of sometimes outlandish debate in February, the Texas Senate agreed to make it a felony punishable by up to two years in jail for convention attendees to support "unauthorized" constitutional modifications, or any change not previously agreed to by the Legislature.
Both the Texas Senate and House have passed strict measures created to prohibit so-called "sanctuary cities" where local police don't inquire about immigration status when detaining someone - but each chamber's version must now be reconciled before Abbott can sign them into law. "They have stated as clearly as they can that they're willing to target innocent children, break up families, encourage constitutional violations like racial profiling, and endanger Texas communities exclusively to make immigrants feel unwelcome in Texas. Nowhere in this bill does it allow officers to stop someone exclusively to enforce federal immigration law", said Sen.
Plaintive cries could be heard from both chambers as deadlines for passing bills began approaching, as literally hundreds of House and Senate bills - some important, some not - began dying because they had not been assigned to a committee, or they had not received a public hearing or they had not been approved by a committee.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott has pledged to sign the bill into law.
Popular Video House Republicans just voted to destroy Obama's signature achievement.
It allows law enforcement to ask any detained person about their immigration status, for any reason. Charles Perry, the bill's author. But the members of our immigrant communities should know that you are welcome in Texas and you're not alone. Many sheriffs and police chiefs in heavily Democratic areas warn that it would make their jobs harder if immigrant communities - including crime victims and witnesses - become afraid of the police. They also said it gives police the right to racially profile people.
For example, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez's current policy to honor ICE detainer requests only in the case of high-level felonies has made her the target of SB 4 supporters.
Law enforcement officers and elected officials who do not comply with SB4 could face big fines and even jail time.
The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal meaning but has been used to describe jurisdictions whose elected officials restrict, in any way, their police force's cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
El Paso County is under a settlement entered in federal court in 2006 that prohibits the county from enforcing civil immigration law.
"I think Senate Bill 4 goes all the way in protecting our citizens, and I think it's a terrific bill", said Republican Senator Van Taylor.
The Bill follows efforts by President Donald Trump to step up deportations and crack down on cities, including NY and Chicago, that his administration describes as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. He says it's about the rule of law and they don't want illegal criminals back on the street.style="text-align: center;"