The so-called “sanctuary city” bill before the Texas House this week is a major threat to the safety and security of Texas families. But Governor Greg Abbott, serving as a right-hand man to President Donald Trump, has made the bill an emergency item — and Texas Republicans in the Legislature have been all too quick to move it along.
I am proud that House Democrats defeated a Calendar Rule for Senate Bill 4, which would have only helped the leadership pass the bill. Still, in a truly upsetting example of misplaced priorities, it remains troubling that the bill comes to the floor of the Texas House before several CPS reform bills, before the Sandra Bland Act, and before any fix to the discriminatory photo ID law or redistricting maps.
Law enforcement groups reject this terrible piece of legislation, because it breeds distrust which makes our communities less safe. The Houston Chief of Police reported that Latinos in Houston are reporting fewer rape and domestic violence crimes, likely due to all the fear resulting from ramped-up-rhetoric on immigration.
The bill could turn campus police into immigration enforcement officials. That fear was made real earlier this year, when San Antonio student Josue Romero was almost deported despite his status as a DACA student. So instead of planning for graduation in a month, children and families are creating deportation plans — what to do in case a child or parent is surprisingly or unjustly deported.
All of this comes after three federal court rulings this year, and six since 2011, found that Republicans in the Texas Legislature intentionally discriminated against minorities when they passed the photo ID bill and created the redistricting maps. Instead of fixing those glaring mistakes, Texas Republicans are diving head first into another law that makes our communities less safe by discriminating against Texas Latinos.
House Democrats will do everything in our power to stop the bill. And hopefully, somehow, we will be able to prevent this dangerous piece of legislation from becoming law.