'Sanctuary Cities' Bill Heads To Gov. Abbott's Desk

Texas House passes measure to reduce handgun license fee

The state legislatures passed the bill Wednesday evening allowing Texas to withhold funding from local governments who don't help federal authorities in the fight against illegal immigration.

The controversial policy has also been criticized by the police chiefs in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Arlington, Fort Worth, and San Antonio, all of whom said the bill will drive an even wider chasm between the law enforcement and immigrant communities. The Legislature completed approval of the bill May 3, 2017.

In a 20-11 party line vote, Republican state senators adopted the House version of a bill that prescribes tough penalties for local officials who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The so-called "Anti-Sanctuary Cities" bill is now officially on its way to Governor Greg Abbott's desk.

"Officers would start inquiring about the immigration status of every person they come in contact with, or worse, inquire about the immigration status of people based on their appearance", they wrote.

"The passage of SB 4 would have a tremendous effect on our daily duties because it would mandate local law enforcement to inquire about the immigration status of everyone that they come in contact with". Many held signs calling the legislation racist. "Nowhere in this bill does it allow officers to stop a person exclusively to enforce federal immigration law".

"Though elements of the current test have importance, this bill acknowledges that there are some things our students absolutely must understand and appreciate before they finish high school", Ashby said at a March hearing on the bill in the House Public Education Committee.


Last week, six Texas police chiefs, including from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, and the director of the Texas Police Chiefs Association assailed the bill as "political pandering that will make our communities more unsafe".

Clergy also distributed a second letter signed by 104 national religious leaders who said they were committed to embracing "the diversity of God's creation".

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented a similar measure by executive order. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign it, since he made it one of his emergency items this legislative session.

"The fee is now so high that it impairs a lot of people's ability to get a license to carry", said Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, author of the House companion bill.

The Texas Senate has voted to extend a 2015 law created to help high school seniors graduate on time despite failing standardized tests needed to earn a diploma.

He said Senate Bill 281 would affect only local governments that seek to thwart federal immigration enforcement. This bill does nothing to make our state safer for our fellow Texans, if anything it will make us less safe and numerous law enforcement officials have testified just as much. You do have Boulder, for example, that outright says they're going to be a sanctuary city.

"Please know if you're undocumented that we love you and we want you here in Austin", Rigby told the crowd after leaving the building. Last legislative session there were 6,200 bills filed in the House and Senate, and only 1,300 of those bills passed.

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