Texas Lawmakers Just Passed A Bill Banning Sanctuary Cities

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The Texas Senate on Wednesday voted 20-11 to accept the House's version of Senate bill 4, legislation that would ban "sanctuary" jurisdictions in Texas and allow police to inquire about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain.

One of Governor Greg Abbott's emergency items for the legislative session seeks amendments to the U.S. Constitution that would shift power from the federal government back to the states.

Inside the chambers, those voices were amplified by Democratic lawmakers who stood in solidarity to offer passionate and oftentimes tearful remarks against the so-called "sanctuary cities" bill, legislation that punishes cities and law enforcement officials who do not fully comply with federal immigration policy.

"Finally, Gov. Abbott has gotten what he asked for: a hateful, anti-immigrant bill that will tear families apart, make us less safe, negatively drag Texas into the national headlines and result in years of costly litigation at the taxpayer's expense", said Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, an Austin Democrat and chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

President Trump signed directives to strip federal funding from "sanctuary" cities that shield "illegal" immigrants.

Grant police officers the authority to question a detained person's immigration status, even during a minor offense.

Nicole Hudgens with Texas Values says passing laws like SB-6 and HB-2899 is the reasonable and responsible thing to do.

"Their prayer was silent, but they sang hymns and held signs that read 'My faith does not discriminate'". "Nowhere in this bill does it allow officers to stop someone exclusively to enforce federal immigration law", said Sen.

Courts blocked other portions of Arizona's law, including one that made it a crime not to carry immigrations documents, which were never proposed under the Texas bill.

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Wu also noted that the bill would be a reminder to his sons "that the law will treat them with suspicion". Dan Patrick have said the bill is about rule of law and making sure that criminals who are also in the country illegally should be deported before they are able to commit more crimes in this country. "Some of them say, 'I got concerns.' And I don't know how to reconcile those two other than to go forward with what I know is best and that's have a system that's uniformly without prejudice".

The Texas Senate has voted to extend a 2015 law created to help high school seniors graduate on time despite failing standardized tests needed to earn a diploma.

Lubbock Republican Charles Perry, who wrote the bill, said despite the criticism, the bill does not allow law enforcement to demand documentation of a person's immigration status.

Protesters march in the streets outside the Texas State Capitol.

The bill includes language that makes it a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by jail or a fine, for local law enforcement not to cooperate.

"Are you aware that because of this legislation, hundreds of thousands of Texans are preparing for the passage of this, preparing in terms of, 'What are we going to do if our undocumented father is asked for documentation?'" Whitmire said.

An official house vote for Senate Bill 21 will be Wednesday, May 5, with a vote for SJ2 scheduled for Thursday, May 4, 2017.

"Distrust and fear of contacting or assisting the police has already become evident among legal immigrants", they said.

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