House Advances Sanctuary Cities Bill

Last night, after 16 hours of emotional debate, the Texas House voted to advance Senate Bill 4, known as the Sanctuary Cities bill. Under this bill, local sheriffs and police chiefs would be required to honor ICE requests. As of now, honoring ICE requests is voluntary and Texas counties already comply.

The House version of the bill included a highly contested “Show Your Papers” amendment by Republican Representative Matt Shaefer that would allow police to inquire about someone’s immigration status during routine law enforcement interactions such as traffic stops, rather than only being able to do so after making an arrest. SB4 is similar to the controversial law passed by Arizona a few years back that was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

House Republicans refused to allow exemptions for people at domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, pre-kindergarten schools, and public school events such as football games.

I am troubled by the repercussions this bill will have on communities of color. Texas has already been found guilty of racially discriminating against people of color three times this year by the courts. This bill will likely add to that number.

I will continue to update you on this important issue.

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