So according to this story, one of the motivating factors in the petition drive to force a vote on HPD's policy on checking immigration status is the meaning of the phrase "sanctuary city". I think the whole thing is a stunt being pushed by people who need something to do now that gay marriage can't be made any more illegal, but you can read the story and decide for yourself. I just want to note this:
Many localities don't have a written policy at all.
That's the case in Katy, where police are forbidden from enforcing immigration laws but do not have a written policy to follow, according to Assistant Police Chief Bill Hastings. The policy was mandated by a court in 1994 after a federal lawsuit was filed when police picked up day laborers.
I was sent a statement by City Council member Carol Alvarado about this, which I've got beneath the fold. Click on for more.
What this petition drive is not is a serious attempt to address the issues surrounding illegal immigration. The city of Houston does not have a sanctuary policy, and our Houston Police Officers should not be used as political pawns.
If the people behind this petition drive had sincere concerns about the impact of illegal immigration on our community, they would be reaching out to our Mayor, our Police Chief, our civic groups and our business community to discuss their concerns and share ideas. But that would be asking them to put the public interest above their self-interest, and I suspect it will not happen.
Tackling the issue of illegal immigration and its impact on our city takes hard work. Despite what you might hear on right-wing radio, turning our Houston Police Officers into de facto border patrol agents will not address it and, in fact, will distract those men and women from the important work of protecting all of us."
This petition drive should be rejected for the ugly stunt that it is.