Ellis seeks Harris County entry into SB4 litigation

From the inbox, an email from Commissioner Ellis:

Commissioner Rodney Ellis

Despite strong opposition from law enforcement officials, faith leaders, local governments, civil rights organizations, constituents, and advocacy groups, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), the “show-me-your-papers” legislation, has been signed into law. The new legislation unfairly targets immigrant families, allows state-sanctioned racial profiling, and violates rights to due process. SB4 also undermines local governments by forcing them to choose between enforcing a blatantly unconstitutional law or facing strict punishment and excessive fines from the state.

As the nation’s third-largest county with the fifth-largest foreign-born population, Harris County is at particular risk under SB4. Immigrants are a vital part of our community and strengthen the social fabric of Harris County. This new legislation threatens to tear families apart. Immigrants cannot and should not be driven back into the shadows or live in fear because of this unconstitutional law.

Already, local governments have filed suit against SB4, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday in San Antonio. Just this past week, the Houston City Council voted to join San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Bexar County and other local governments in a consolidated lawsuit challenging the law.

As Commissioner, I will continue to stand with immigrant families and defend the right of local government and law enforcement to set their own priorities. In a June 9 letter, I asked Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan to seek authorization from Harris County Commissioners Court to join the lawsuit against SB4. I believe it is vitally important for Harris County to fight this unjust law and look forward to working with County Attorney Ryan on this important issue that we both care about. You can read the letter below:

SB4 is a reflection of the anti-immigrant sentiment permeating our society and stands in the way of comprehensive immigration reform. It upholds a flawed and outmoded form of immigration control that tears families apart, increases racial profiling, and violates due process. We need immigration solutions that attend to the complex issues surrounding reform with compassion, efficiency, and effectiveness in mind. And wherever there is discrimination, we must be prepared to speak out and take action.

I’ve got a copy of the letter, which was embedded as an image in the email that Commissioner Ellis sent, here. Houston-area Democratic legislators supported Ellis’ call with a letter of their own that calls on the Court to get involved. I can’t say I expect that to happen – unlike Houston City Council, Commissioners Court is 4-1 Republican – but given the unfunded costs on the county that SB4 will impose, as well as the decline in cooperation with law enforcement, you’d think there’d be a simple dollars-and-cents argument in favor of getting involved. Anything can happen, but I’m not holding my breath. Stace has more.

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One Response to Ellis seeks Harris County entry into SB4 litigation

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    ” but given the unfunded costs on the county that SB4 will impose, as well as the decline in cooperation with law enforcement, you’d think there’d be a simple dollars-and-cents argument in favor of getting involved.”

    Let’s talk about dollars and cents. Physically removing people who take more in public services than they pay for is a win for the taxpayers. For starters, most births to undocumented immigrants are courtesy of the taxpayers, and voila, just like that, newly minted Medicaid/food stamp/free breakfast/free lunch/free take home meal kids are created. I won’t even include the prenatal care costs, the costs of that hospital delivery, and the regular costs of educating those kids, costs that must be subsidized by everyone else. Almost 50% of kids born are born into Medicaid (read: born into welfare). America has enough poor people already, we don’t need to be importing more.

    If you want to argue for open borders, it has to be an emotional “feelings” appeal, because while referring people and families for deportation costs money on the front end, it’s more than made up for on the back end. That’s the reason a company can sell a printer at a loss…..they make their money on the back end selling you expensive ink cartridges. Harris County will spend more money up front, but will save even more on the back end, as savings to the HCHD and other county agencies more than offset the money spent. Think of SB4 like preventative care….a lot cheaper than waiting until you have a really costly problem. This will also have the added benefit of making HCHD services more accessible and more timely for the citizen children of the undocumented that are already here.

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