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Texas Legislators Commit to Targeting ‘Sanctuary’ Havens

Texas legislators are sticking to their guns and are coming after cities and campuses in Texas that declare themselves havens for illegal aliens. They vow to put an end to the illegal sheltering and punish those who do it.

“The integrity of our civil and criminal justice system is built on the premise that it applies to everyone equally. When you undermine that by having individuals determine which laws they will enforce, we create a perception of a double standard that will weaken this nation,” said Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), the primary author of the anti-sanctuary bill.

Breitbart Texas reported on Tuesday that during his State of the State Address, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared banning sanctuary cities as one of his four emergency items. Abbott said emphatically, “This is the session we will ban sanctuary cities.” The Texas Governor gave a shout-out to State Senator Perry who filed SB4. 

Senator Perry and Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) held a press conference with supporting fellow senators on Wednesday to layout Senate Bill 4 that they say will end sanctuary cities. If passed, the law would put an end to cities and campuses declaring themselves sanctuary jurisdictions. Under the law, law enforcement departments must comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. It also makes the jurisdictions liable for releasing illegal aliens from custody when there is a detainer hold.

Breitbart Texas reported in mid-November that Sen. Perry pre-filed a bill to “eliminate Sanctuary Cities in the State of Texas.”

The bill as filed provides that “A local entity shall not adopt, enforce, or endorse a policy under which the entity prohibits or discourages the enforcement of immigration laws.”

Moreover under the bill, a “local entity shall not prohibit or discourage a person who is a commissioned peace officer … a booking clerk, a magistrate, or a district attorney, criminal district attorney, or other prosecuting attorney … from inquiring into the immigration status of a person under a lawful detention or under arrest.” The latter also prohibits communicating with ICE officials, exchanging information with other governmental entities, and cooperating with a federal immigration officer.

The Texas Senate GOP chairman, one of the co-authors of the bill, Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), opened the conference by saying that there is an urgent need for the legislation.

“There have been 210,000 criminal illegal aliens processed in Texas jails since June 1, 2011. These some 210,000 individuals have been charged with more than 559,000 crimes ranging from drug charges to sexual assault and up on to capital offenses, including homicide.” Bettencourt added, “It is completely preposterous to allow any local government or official to ignore this reality in public safety.”

Senator Perry said of the legislation, “Senate Bill 4 at its core principle is about the rule of law. Plain and simple.”

The anti-sanctuary city bill is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on State Affairs on February 2nd. “We predict a large crowd and lengthy testimony relating to the bill,” said Sen. Bettencourt.

The law would take effect no later than September 1 of this year if passed. Because the issue has been declared an emergency item by Governor Abbott, it can go to a Senate floor vote very quickly and it is anticipated to do so.

Senator Dawn Buckingham (R-Austin) also filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 (SCR 13) to call on sheriff’s offices in all 254 counties to comply with, honor, and fulfill the requests in a federal immigration detainer, according to a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.

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