Immigration attorney reacts to proposed bill to eliminate sanctuary cities

Posted at 6:48 PM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:32-04

A State Senator that introduced a bill to eliminate sanctuary cities in Central Texas is receiving support from other state officials such as Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick.

The proposed bill filed by Charles Perry (R-28) for a second time would require local governments and law enforcement to comply with current immigration laws.

“Banning sanctuary city policies will help prevent criminal aliens from being put back on our streets,” Perry said. “I have no doubt that with the help of my colleagues in the Texas Legislature, we will pass this bill.”

Waco Immigration Attorney Susan Nelson said she doesn’t think the enforcement will change if the bill becomes law.

"I think a lot of it is political. It's more of a political football than anything that would have consequence is most people's lives,” Nelson said.

She said she is not aware of any cities or counties that are not cooperating with immigration enforcement after an arrest.   

"The immigration and customs office can issue a request to the jail detain them for 48 hours than otherwise they would have been released,” Nelson said.

Patrick said in a statement passing that bill is key to keep the border secure and a top priority for the 2017 legislative session.

"Cities that decide to act as safe havens for illegal immigrants are not only breaking federal immigration laws, they are also creating a magnet for illegal immigration,” Patrick said in a statement.

Nelson said she worries this bill would open the door for racial discrimination and generate fear among those undocumented.

“When we start making people afraid to interact with the police. We have problems with crimes not being reported and feeling safe in their neighborhood,” Nelson said.

The bill also complaints against local entities intentionally prohibiting or discouraging can be filed to the Texas Attorney General Office. If the AG determines a complaint is valid, state grant funds for a local entity will be denied for the next fiscal year.

News Channel 25 reached out to Patrick and Perry’s offices requesting information about sanctuary cities in Texas. However, they did not respond before 7 p.m.

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