MAY 11, 2011
Banning sanctuary cities that offer illegal immigrants safe haven is racist and will force millions of Hispanics to “live in fear,” according to Texas lawmakers trying to stop legislation that would outlaw the refuges in their state.Many cities across the Lone Star State have long offered illegal aliens sanctuary by, among other things, forbidding police from asking suspects about their legal status and that could change soon. This week the Republican-dominated Texas House voted overwhelmingly (100-47) to give preliminary approval to a measure that would ban sanctuary cities.If it passes the state senate, the bill would prohibit local governments from adopting rules that ban police officers from inquiring about the immigration status of detained or arrested people. It would also allow local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to exchange information with federal authorities when they encounter illegal aliens in the course of an investigation.Some Latino lawmakers quickly played the race card, asserting that the law will lead to racial profiling and force millions of Texas Hispanics to “live in fear,” according to a local news report. One legislator who represents a heavily Hispanic district, called the bill “one of the most overtly racist pieces of legislation I’ve seen.” Another said it was the “most divisive bill” he had ever seen and if passed it would grant “blanket amnesty” to racial profiling.The Texas legislator who co-authored the law, Republican Linda Harper, says it will give local authorities the tools needed to keep families and communities safe. Prohibiting law enforcement officials from asking about the immigration status of individuals has hindered their ability to defend the state’s laws, Harper added. “As an elected officeholder, it is my responsibility to abide by the oath of office to, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state,” she said.Judicial Watch has been a leader in fighting for the rights of police officers to inquire about the citizenship status of arrestees and has sued local departments across the nation. Among them are the Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and District of Columbia police departments. Read about all of Judicial Watch’s illegal immigration cases and investigations here.
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