“Sanctuary cities” bill passes in Senate

As expected.

The Texas Senate late Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a controversial immigration measure to ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in the state.

Senate Bill 4, filed by state Sen. Charles Perry, would punish local and state government entities and college campuses that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or enforce immigration laws. The vote was 20-11 along party lines.

It would also punish local governments if their law enforcement agencies fail to honor requests, known as detainers, from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to hand over immigrants in custody for possible deportation. The punishment would be a denial of state grant funds. The bill doesn’t apply to victims of or witnesses to crimes, public schools or hospital districts.


The vote came after Perry added tough civil and criminal penalties for entities that don’t comply with the bill’s provisions. One amendment would make a department head whose agency violates the provisions of SB 4 subject to criminal prosecution in the form of a class A misdemeanor. Another added a provision that would subject the local agency to civil penalties, including a fine at least $1,000 for the first offense and $25,000 for each subsequent violation.

The severity of the proposals prompted state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston to ask Perry how far he was willing to go.

“What’s the next [amendment] going to do? Take their first born?” she asked.

The upper chamber also predictably shot down by party line votes several amendments Democrats offered to make the bill more palatable to their constituents, including a measure by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, that would have excluded college campuses. An amendment by state Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, which sought to require peace officers to learn immigration law was also voted down, as was another by state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. that would have prohibited the arrest of a person only because he or she was in the country illegally.

Garcia also asked Perry to remove a section of the bill that would punish a local entity for “endorsing” a policy that prohibits or discourages enforcing immigration law. Garcia said that section could be a violation of an elected official’s right to free speech and could be interpreted broadly.

See here for the background. There will certainly be lawsuits filed when this thing gets signed into law. The fact that legal genius Ken Paxton swears it’s legal is irrelevant – was there ever a chance he wouldn’t say that? – though what the courts ultimately do with this remains to be seen. (Other lawyers disagree with Paxton’s assessment.) The thing that needs to happen of course is for there to be a political price to pay for passing this bill. Lots of people showed up to testify against SB4. We need that same kind of turnout next November. Stace has more.

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13 Responses to “Sanctuary cities” bill passes in Senate

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    The communities that will benefit the most from deporting criminal illegal aliens are traditional immigrant neighborhoods, containing a mix of legal and illegal immigrants. It’s in their own self interest to get these people out, so their own neighborhoods can become safer.

    I just don’t understand how being pro-criminal is a winning message. People buy alarms, pay for security, pay higher insurance premiums, have to carry guns, etc., because criminals are running loose here. If supporting and protecting criminals is the flag Dems want to fly in 2018, I can’t see them doing very well, especially in Texas.

  2. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bill your hate of “Mexicans” that is everyone that white people and some others believe to be “Mexican” looking you keep bringing up all types of alternative facts, that is your leader’s way of saying I am lying but I want you to think that I think it is true therefore it is a fact”.

    The lie is that all “Illegals” are out there committing all type of crimes, day in and day. Other than the alternative fact in your mind do you have any proof?

    Me I just see you as a person who hates anyone that ain’t white. That is my alternative fact and your leader says I ain’t got to be politically correct. Or as Bill would say I be throwing out the racist card.

    In fact I live in a neighborhood that has a large number of people that are not documented they are almost without exemption good people. Are they all perfect of course not but neither are the Christians, nor the whites. In fact we got a white man living underneath the bridge in our neighborhood. I have to admit the Muslims neighbors are very nice without exception. Then there is that crazy white woman that is always asking her neighbors for money.

  3. Bill Daniels says:


    Most all the people in your neighborhood are good people. I accept that as fact. So why wouldn’t you want the few bad apple criminals in your neighborhood dealt with? Those that are citizens, you can’t do much about getting rid of, but if they are illegal, I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t want them gone.

    You are tossing out red herrings about Christianity, Mexicans, whites, Muslims, etc., basically promulgating identity politics 101. Stop it. This is about two groups, only two. Criminals and their supporters are on one side, and law abiding people are on the other side. That’s it. It isn’t rocket science. Criminal, or law abiding citizen.

    Choose wisely.

  4. robert says:

    Bill, I think the next bill should be send the blacks back to Africa….from what the news reports they commit a lot of crime and use a lot of social services.

    Texas should just build a wall around itself, just like its power grid

    I remember in school (4th grade) they gave us a prejudice test…brown eyes vs blue eyes. One week brown eyes were treated like the superiors and vice versa the following week.

    Prejudice is learned…. never been prejudice since, except in my military years… many southerners still believed they were superior and treated Latinos/blacks poorly.

  5. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bill, you don’t say the few bad “Illegals” you say all illegals.

    E-Verify Bill, they should have made that a requirement back when Reagan signed the amnesty. But the Republicans didn’t want it, they still don’t. There are exceptions but few.

    Many of those “Illegals” own homes, what would happen to many of the neighborhoods if mass deportation were to occur? Houston economy would tank as would all but the most expensive homes. I don’t know how old you were but back in the 80s something like that happened in what would be a smaller scale. Not just Houston would be hurt all of Harris County. It would be like the 80s on steroids.

  6. M@ says:

    Bill, that’s one of the most reprehensible comments I’ve ever seen on this blog.
    Have you no decency?

  7. Bill Daniels says:


    Stick to the subject at hand, the sanctuary bill that will promote the deportation of illegal aliens who have committed crimes in the US after they entered. Now, follow me, because I am using your facts, not mine.

    Fact: undocumented immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes here in the US than legal residents and citizens.

    Fact: Relatively few undocumented immigrants have committed crimes in the US beyond illegal entry or visa overstay.

    Now, given those facts, we must be talking about very few undocumented immigrants that will be subject to deportation, since very few undocumented immigrants end up in city or county jails, because they are very law abiding people, as a group.

    So, Neither, why the specter of mass deportation, the specter of neighborhoods emptying, etc.? Something doesn’t jive.

    In order for there to be the mass exodus you describe, our previous facts would have to be false, and I believe the narrative that undocumented immigrants are virtually all law abiding people.

  8. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bill, the problem with racists is that they promote lies, or alternative facts if you prefer.

    This what you wrote Bill,

    containing a mix of legal and illegal immigrants. It’s in their own self interest to get these people out, so their own neighborhoods can become safer.

    I am sticking to the facts Bill, but a racist has trouble accepting what they are. Just make the statement you hate illegals.

    A fact neither you nor I can tell the difference between a Legal Mexican and Illegal Mexican. Just like neither you nor I can tell the difference between a legal white or an Illegal white.

    Therefore Bill all Mexicans are considered illegals until they can prove otherwise, that is what you write.

  9. C. L. says:

    Bill’s a hate troll. Leave him be.

  10. Jen says:

    I have just read a news story about a journal article that finds no link between immigration and increased crime over four decades. In fact some crimes were decreased. A quote from the story (from ScienceDaily)–” “Our research shows strong and stable evidence that, on average, across U.S. metropolitan areas crime and immigration are not linked,” said Robert Adelman, an associate professor of sociology at UB and the paper’s lead author. “The results show that immigration does not increase assaults and, in fact, robberies, burglaries, larceny, and murder are lower in places where immigration levels are higher.

    “The results are very clear.”

    Adelman’s study with Lesley Williams Reid, University of Alabama; Gail Markle, Kennesaw State University; Charles Jaret, Georgia State University; and Saskia Weiss, an independent scholar, is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice. ”

    I hope that will settle it.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    “Illegal Immigrants Accounted for Nearly 37 Percent of Federal Sentences in FY 2014”

    According to FY 2014 USSC data, of 74,911 sentencing cases, citizens accounted for 43,479 (or 58.0 percent), illegal immigrants accounted for 27,505 (or 36.7 percent), legal immigrants made up 3,017 (or 4.0 percent), and the remainder (about 1 percent) were cases in which the offender was either extradited or had an unknown status.


    Go ahead and scoff at the source, but my argument remains the same, and logical. If virtually NONE of the undocumented immigrants here are committing secondary crimes, and thus, ending up in our jails, then this scaremongering of mass deportations is just that, scaremongering, because our undocumented immigrants don’t commit any crimes. They don’t commit fraud, engage in forgery, don’t sell drugs, don’t drive drunk, don’t shoplift, don’t…..well, they don’t do any of the type of crimes that our less law abiding citizen population commits.

    Since undocumented immigrants do not commit crimes, by and large, this focus on deporting criminal undocumented immigrants is much ado about nothing. After the dozen or so undocumented immigrants who have actually committed US crimes get deported, there won’t be any other undocumented immigrants to deport, because the rest have committed no crimes.

  12. robert says:

    Houston, as a sanctuary city already does send Felonies to ICE if their status is illegal or unsure…..the Feds want EVERY infraction, even a stop sign violation to be sent to them, Sanctuary cities don’t send those things to ICE nor if someone reporting a crime or is a witness to a crime. The FEDS want EVERYONE that their status is illegal or unknown to be sent to them for deportation.

    I have many cop friends and this is my understanding as its been explained to me.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong

  13. Steve Houston says:

    Jen, that article floating around concludes with:
    “There were some individual studies that found that with an increase in immigration, there was an increase in crime. However, there were 2.5 times as many findings that showed immigration was actually correlated with less crime. And, the most common finding was that immigration had no impact on crime.”
    What the eggheads typically can’t account for is that they are basing their studies on census data and REPORTED crimes where people are arrested whose immigration status can be proven. Since Houston routinely disputes the accuracy of the census in order to score more federal dollars, why is that number so sacred to researchers? Further, many crimes are either not reported (especially illegal on illegal crimes) or the suspect has not been arrested in order to determine his status, so there is no credible way to project accurate numbers (and we all know the quote about statistics. Look up the archives here to see how many crimes are left unsolved by HPD and HCSO each year, tens of thousands each year with no suspect data and closure rates in single digits. The suggestion that illegal immigrants act as a dampener for serious crime is laughable on its face as well but on a per capita basis, I’m confident they commit fewer crimes than a few other groups.

    Robert, you’ve been misinformed. If someone who is arrested for a higher level crime is processed through the city jail, they are asked if they are here illegally. The attempts to identify them stop well short of anything further than that, even when they are printed, they are not typically identified as an illegal unless they have been handled for a serious crime in the past. When they arrive at the county, another step is added but even then, unless ICE flags them, they are not consistently identified as such. There is no agreed upon definition of what a “sanctuary city” is at this time, but the standing practice with all major cities in Texas is that their status is not asked unless they are charged with a higher level crime. If some cop stops you for speeding, he is not allowed to ask you if you are illegal, nor if you’re a witness or complainant.

    Bill, you know darned well illegals commit crimes and so do the others reading this blog. From the article you quote:
    “Eliminating all immigration violations, illegal immigrants would account for 13.6 percent of all the offenders sentenced in FY14 following federal criminal convictions — still greater than the 3.5 percent of the population illegal immigrants are said to make up.”
    The GAO studies tell us that 68% of criminal aliens (which includes those here legally as well) come from Mexico, another 5% from Columbia, 5% more from the Dominican Republic, and so on until the final 10% comes from the other 172 countries. So when the racist labels start flying, like it or not, flawed or not, the data is very conclusive regarding illegals committing crimes. The GAO study (“Information on Incarcerations, Arrests, and Costs”) pointed out:
    “Due to the large volume of arrests and offenses, we selected a random sample of 1,000 criminal aliens and analyzed their arrest records to estimate the number and types of offenses in our study population of approximately 249,000. There were nearly 1.7 million arrest records relating to nearly 3 million offenses for these 249,000 criminal aliens.” I’d offer links but then my response would be stuck in limbo due to the settings Charles uses.

    But the numbers of illegals in prison (state or federal) is not that large when you remove immigration crimes and drug crimes, the suggestion that they are responsible for as many murders, rapes and robberies as other groups is just not proven by the facts. A bigger problem for many is that during recent ICE sweeps across the country, the authorities did NOT just arrest those wanted by ICE for serious crimes, they also arrested otherwise law abiding illegals in direct contradiction to what the public was told they’d do. The ones to worry about are the anchor babies who populate gangs responsible for significant amounts of crime…

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