Sanctuary City Ban Voted Out Of Senate Committee, Bill Now Awaits Full Senate Vote

Law enforcement groups don’t agree on how a bill banning sanctuary cities would affect public safety in Texas.

By Ryan PoppeFebruary 3, 2017 9:35 am, , , ,

From Texas Public Radio

Emotions ran high in a Senate hearing as immigrant rights advocates interrupted testimony on Sen. Charles Perry’s bill that bans sanctuary cities, and security officers escorted the protesters out.

Perry’s bill would take money away from local law enforcement departments that don’t ask about a person’s immigration status during when the person is stopped, even if it’s for something as minor like a traffic violation.   The bill would also allow the Texas Attorney General to review a police department’s policies on addressing immigration issues if someone complains, and that could lead to the governor stripping the local agency of state and federal law enforcement grants.

“There clearly will be economic costs to those who chose not to comply with SB 4 once passed, but the real cost will be continuing to foster, nuture and encourage the contempt or the culture of contempt for our legal system and laws contained within is the loss of public trust,” Perry said.

But San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told lawmakers the bill would require his officers to undergo expensive training  the city can’t afford so they could act as federal immigration agents.  He said the legislation could also expose officers to discrimination lawsuits.

“It opens all types of opportunities of racial profiling because what else would you base your assumption on that a person is not here legally,” McManus explained.

State Sen. Jose Menendez, a San Antonio Democrat, echoed  McManus’ concerns.

“The bill removes the immunity from counties and cities and so it makes them civilly liable for a lawsuit.  That’s something we don’t do around here,” Menendez said.

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