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If the Republicans want to pretend that sanctuary cities exist, they can pretend to do something about it

That’s my takeaway from this.

At a Senate committee meeting on “sanctuary cities” on Friday, Texas lawmakers strongly disagreed on the prospect of passing legislation that would penalize local law enforcement entities for not complying with federal immigration policies. At times, committee members even disagreed as to whether, or to what extent, sanctuary cities exist at all.

The term has no legal recognition but is commonly used to describe local jurisdictions where police do not ask people they’ve detained about their immigration status, or which do not consistently comply with detention requests from federal officials.

“A sanctuary city policy, whether implied or codified, would be to give sanction to what is unlawful,” said Senator Brian Birdwell, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has tasked the subcommittee with finding ways to “discourage governmental entities from putting in place policies that conflict with immigration laws.”


Despite anecdotal claims and politically charged rhetoric, the committee was never presented with documentation of any codified sanctuary city policies, and the debate turned to whether or not informal sanctuary policies existed.

A bit like debating what kind of home security is best suited to preventing the Tooth Fairy from gaining entry, without addressing the question of whether or not the Tooth Fairy exists in the first place. Be that as it may, I know this to be true: The Republicans can pass a “sanctuary cities” bill if they want to. They have the numbers, and they have a Governor and a Lt. Governor who want to pass such a bill. The fact that no one can define what a “sanctuary city” is or what, if anything, the state of Texas could do about it if they could define it, doesn’t matter. The fact that the undocumented immigrant population is on a long-term decline doesn’t matter. The fact that law enforcement, business interests, cities, and immigration activists all think this is a terrible, likely harmful, idea, doesn’t matter. It’s what the Republicans want, and it is well within their capacity to do it. That’s all there is to it. Nothing will change until who we elect to office changes.

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  1. Arizona SB1070.

    Enough said.

  2. Manuel Barrera says:

    Joe when they start rounding up white people and doing drug test, hair. We can talk about rounding up brown folks. Percentage white people are twice as likely to use drugs then any other minority. Drugs are a much greater danger to this country.

    That is what happens, so until then racist white people can think what they want.

    A federal judge ruled in 2013 that Arpaio’s department engaged in racial profiling in its immigration enforcement practices and appointed a monitor to institute reforms. The sheriff last week agreed to civil sanctions for failing to comply with the court orders, offering to set up a restitution fund of $300,000 for the victims of his office’s immigration practices.

    Maybe he will wind up with pink undies for violating the law on profiling.

  3. […] issues will be on the front burner for the 2017 Legislature, though much of that is about pandering and fearmongering. If we can get past that, perhaps this issue can be addressed constructively, whether or not the […]