Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he is not worried about a potential State law to punish so-called sanctuary cities because the Bayou City is acting in accordance with the current laws.
This week, the Texas Senate gave its approval to a bill, known as SB4, which would punish local governments that don’t enforce federal immigration laws.
The punishment would come in the form of losing state grant funding and facing potential civil fines.
But Mayor Turner, who has always refused to call Houston a sanctuary city, assures the City of Houston isn’t breaking any laws and adds he is not concerned about the Houston Police Department’s policy of not asking about immigration status.
“I see no reason for the City of Houston to be losing any sort of dollars on the state or federal level, as long as we are operating in accordance to the United States Supreme Court,” Turner noted during the press conference held after the weekly meeting of the City Council.
Turner’s argument is that the Court’s rulings prevent law enforcement agencies to profile based on whether somebody might be in the country without the appropriate immigration documents.
The Mayor also noted other anti-sanctuary bills filed in previous sessions of the Texas Legislature haven’t made into law and underscored that what will make the difference will be the details of the legislation.
“You have to look at the substance of the bill,” Turner said “and not just refer to the title of it. Look to what the substance says, if one should make it out of the Legislature.”
However, Turner avoided commenting on potential repercussions for Houston in case Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez eliminates the 287(g) program, which allows Sheriff deputies to turn in undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.