The Texas House and Senate passed and sent to the governor a punitive bill that would “crack down” on sanctuary cities, would authorize and encourage racial profiling by police, and would impose criminal penalties on police officers who do not actively enforce federal immigration laws. The bill requires that police departments allow officers to ask anyone they stop for any reason to “show me your papers.”
San Antonio police chief William McManus specifically criticized the law for racial profiling, saying, “”In order for me to identify someone who I don’t think is from here, it’s either skin color, language or accent. And in order to do, that I’m profiling. So that’s another part of the bill that’s distasteful, to say the least.”
Texas’ Big-City Police Chiefs Hate The “Sanctuary Cities” Bill (San Antonio Current, 5/1/17)
“[S]ome of the loudest voices opposing it are police chiefs in the state’s biggest cities who argue that forcing local departments to enforce federal immigration law would increase crime and alienate entire communities where cops have been working to forge stronger relationships and cooperation.”
In an open letter, police chiefs wrote:
“Distrust and fear of contacting or assisting the police has already become evident among legal immigrants as well. Legal immigrants are beginning to avoid contact with the police for fear that they themselves or undocumented family members or friends may become subject to immigration enforcement. Such a divide between the local police and immigrant groups will result in increased crime against immigrants and in the broader community, create a class of silent victims, and eliminate the potential for assistance from immigrants in solving crimes or preventing crime. It should not be forgotten that by not arresting criminals that victimize our immigrant communities, we are also allowing them to remain free to victimize every one of us. When it comes to criminals, we are in this together, regardless of race, sex, religion or nation of origin. SB 4 will make our communities more dangerous, not safer, as we presume the legislature intended.”
‘Sanctuary cities’ ban bill heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk (Austin American-Statesman, 5/3/17)
“SB 4 by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, imposes stiff penalties on local governments and officials who lead local police forces that restrict when officers can inquire about subjects’ immigration status and on county jails that don’t cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “detainer” requests, meant to facilitate deportation proceedings for inmates suspected of being unauthorized immigrants….
“During Wednesday’s debate, Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, questioned Perry over one of those provisions — labeled by critics as the “show me your papers” amendment — that requires police departments to let their officers ask immigration-related questions of anyone who has been detained, a broad category that includes those involved in routine traffic stops.”
Sanctuary cities ban headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk (Dallas Morning News, 5/3/17)
“Senate Bill 4 would punish cities, counties and universities that prohibit local law enforcement officers from asking about a person’s immigration status or enforcing immigration law. It would create a criminal charge for police chiefs, county sheriffs and constables who violate the ban and would fine local jurisdictions up to $25,000 a day for each violation.”
Immigrant Legislator Breaks Down While Speaking Out Against Texas Immigration Bill (Huffington Post, 5/2/17)
Rep. Gene Wu (D-TX), who’s Chinese-American, addressed the state’s House of Representatives last Wednesday during a debate about Senate Bill 4….
“This topic is painful for me because I am an immigrant. My parents are immigrants. I represent a district filled with immigrants,” Wu, who represents District 137, tearfully said. “Some are here as refugees, some are here as citizens, some are here without papers. But they are all my people.”…
“Wu compared SB 4 to other racist policies in history that singled out immigrants. He brought up the Chinese Exclusion Act, which provided a 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration, as well as the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“Those are also laws that were created out of fear, would you not agree? Those are laws created out of hatred and misunderstanding,” he said. ”
“The legislation would allow family detention centers to be classified as childcare facilities, enabling Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to detain women and children for longer periods….
“However, because of multiple judicial rulings dating back to 1997, no undocumented child can be held for over 20 days in anything but a licensed “non-secure” childcare facility.
“Almost nothing about these detention centers meets that definition. Grassroots groups have given them the grim nickname “baby jails,” and a survivor of a WWII-era Japanese internment camp said the facilities “triggered distressing associations of my own experience as a child.” Reports of inadequate medical care, sexual abuse, improper solitary confinement, and permanently stunted child development proliferate.”
And in other immigration news
Fighting to Protect Immigrants in Rural Trump Country (NPR, 4/28/17) NPR visits Willmar, with Mariano Espinoza.
“The day after the election, Minneapolis-based activist Mariano Espinoza decided to get to work. The way he saw it, the federal government was promising to crack down on immigrants without legal status, now the state government was unfriendly to immigrants as well. So who would stand up for the undocumented in the rural meatpacking towns that dot the Minnesota countryside?”
Immigration Article of the Day: The Costs of Trumped-Up Immigration Enforcement Measures by Kari E. Hong (Immigration Prof Blog, 5/2/17)
“Introduced with dramatic flair, the Trump administration’s immigration policies involve heightened enforcement measures—more arrests, more ICE officers roaming our streets and airports, more detentions, more deportations, and more wall. These measures outlined in the new executive orders are expensive, ineffective, and inhumane.”
Trump’s ‘big beautiful wall’ is not in the spending plan. Will it ever get built? (Los Angeles Times, 5/1/17)
“But over the past week, Trump gave up on pushing Congress to include the billions needed for the wall in the spending plan that lawmakers expect to pass this week. There is little sign that Mexico will be compelled to pay for it, as Trump has so often vowed. And administration allies are increasingly trying to redefine “the wall” as something other than what Trump described in the campaign.”
“Critics say it would be unsightly and prohibitively expensive, it would harm wildlife and that it’s superfluous considering how the unforgiving terrain is a natural barrier.”
“An immigrant facing deportation to Guatemala has the support of Connecticut’s two U.S. senators, who are trying to prevent him from being sent back to a country he left 25 years ago amid threats to his family.
“Luis Barrios, a married father of four U.S.-born children, is scheduled to board a flight from New York to Guatemala on Thursday morning. Immigration officials had allowed him to stay in the U.S. since his illegal status was flagged in a 2011 traffic stop over a broken tail light, but they changed course after President Donald Trump took office and made immigration enforcement a priority.”