Texas House OKs 'sanctuary city' ban with tough jail penalty

A Texas state lawmaker is going days without food to protest an anti-sanctuary cities bill and urging others to join her.

Around 3 a.m. Thursday, the Texas House voted to approve a ban on "sanctuary cities", after 16 hours of emotional debate.

The bill still has to pass another house reading and then will head to the Governor's desk.

Geren, however, said the bill wasn't discriminatory because it targeted criminals, not members of a particular racial or ethnic group.

The next stop for SB 4 is a conference committee where appointed lawmakers will gather to hash out the differences between the Senate and House version before giving it a final nod.

Wu says he chose to speak about Chinese exclusion and Japanese incarceration because, just like today, "the people who voted for that, the people who supported that, thought they were doing the right thing".

Under questioning, Geren told lawmakers there are no local authorities in Texas at present that he would consider a "sanctuary city".

SB 4 passed through the House on second reading by a 94 to 53 vote.

Ramon Romero Jr.Many in the ministry and those among their flock also oppose anti-immigrant measures they view as antithetical to the ideals of religious life. The Texas House bill would allow local law enforcement officers to inquire about federal immigration status if someone is arrested.

The House version of the bill is considered less punitive than the Senate version because it only allows officers to ask about immigration status if a person is arrested.

Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, who is on a four-day fast to protest the bill, read profane social media messages she has received since beginning her fast.

"Think about the bad position we're putting law enforcement officers across our state in by destroying the trust that they have worked so hard to build up with the communities they're charged with protecting", Prairie said. A rare exception was an amendment by Rep. Eddie Lucio III, a Brownsville Democrat, that got the blessing of the Senate Bill 4's House sponsor, Fort Worth Republican Rep. Charlie Geren, and was approved overwhelmingly. And Democrats and law enforcement leaders have countered that existing laws already give law enforcement the ability to cooperate with ICE and hand over arrested undocumented immigrants. "I could see the fear in their eyes", Naeve said. Neave and fellow critics say it'll actually silence undocumented immigrants who are the victims of crime and will be hesitant to testify or even report crimes in the first place due to fear of being deported.

San Antonio Rep. Diego Bernal questioned Schaefer about how his amendment could make simple interactions with law enforcement lead to an immigration check, asking if someone could be detained for speeding.

Despite testimonies from immigrant families and multiple points raised against the bill, the course of the debate was largely steered by the Republican Caucus and its overwhelming majority, according to Texas Rep. Eddie Rodriguez.

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