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Texas Lawmakers Take Aim at Sanctuary Cities

Texas Lawmakers Take Aim at Sanctuary Cities

For years, Texas Republicans have been trying stop the ever-increasing tide of illegal immigrants streaming across the border and into their state. With Trump behind the wheel, their time is finally here. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has pushed the issue of “sanctuary cities” to the forefront of his 2017 agenda, threatening to cut funds to any city that adopts policies to protect illegal immigrants.  

Abbott has a budget of $250 million allocated for grants to Texas law enforcement departments for the next two years. This is the money he plans to cut off if cities don’t cooperate. “When we pass a strong rebuke [in 2017] to sanctuary cities and ban sanctuary cities here in the state of Texas, the consequences will be so extreme for the cities and counties they will have to follow the law,” he said. 

Civil rights groups complain that such bans are hostile to Latinos and will lead to racial profiling, and businesses worry about a shrinking labor pool. 

“This is a bill that is directed at Latinos. It impacts not just the immigrants, but citizens and documented immigrants too, just because of the color of our skin and our accents,” complains El Paso Senator Jose Rodriguez. 

Some law enforcement officials are concerned that crime victims won’t contact police if they fear it may lead to deportation.

“They all want political slogans and bumper sticker solutions,” complains Charley Wilkison, executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas. Wilkison points out that the illegal immigration debate rarely takes into account the effect political battles have on the officers who have sworn to uphold the law. 

“If (officers) make a legitimate criminal stop, we’re not going to stand for them to be turned into a racist, and we don’t want them being confused as to what their job is,” he said. 

But the rate of illegal immigration is increasing, and with the month of November marking a record high with over 47,000 documented illegal border crossings, something must be done. 

“The American people made it clear that solving our illegal immigration crisis must be a priority,” says Lubbock Senator Charles Perry. “That starts by eliminating sanctuary cities, securing our border, and enforcing the immigration laws we currently have on the books.” 

Texas has no formal sanctuary policies like New York or Seattle, but sheriffs in two of the state’s biggest counties have suggested they will soon stop cooperating with federal immigration officials. If incoming Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s campaign promises are to be taken at face value, Austin may become Texas’ first official “sanctuary city.” 

“The sheriff-elect…has fervently and publically rebuked her predecessor’s policy of cooperating with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, when it requested that the sheriff’s office hold inmates so that they might be removed from the country,” reports Breitbart.

Democratic mayors across the nation have joined together in an effort to soothe worried immigrants, insisting that Donald Trump’s election will not stand in the way of their beloved sanctuary policies. Chicago will “always be a sanctuary city” proclaimed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in November. 

Mayors of New York, LA, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Francisco have made it clear that they intend to maintain sanctuary policies even if they lose government funding. 

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