Tag Archives: racial profiling

Democratic Reaction to Passing of SB4

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These Lawbreakers First!

The Texas Senate passed the committee substitute to Senate Bill 4 on Tuesday night. The bill would stop funding state and local government entities who do not federalize themselves for immigrant hunting duties. As reported by Nacho Aguilar at the Texas Trib:

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. Wednesday’s vote was 20-10 along party lines, with state Sen. José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, absent. Rodriguez was present a day earlier, when the Senate tentatively approved it on a 20-11 vote.

The bill 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. Entities in violation would be stripped of state grant funding and also be subject to civil fines. Department heads could also be subject to criminal prosecution if they violate the provisions of the bill. The bill doesn’t apply to victims of or witnesses to crimes, public schools or hospital districts.

Perry added some steroids to the bill.

Perry amended his bill Tuesday to add 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 bill now goes to the Texas House for consideration, amendments, etc. Hopefully, House Speaker Joe Straus doesn’t decide to waste state resources, including those to defend from legal challenges. One can hope, right?

Senate Democrats responded:

 

State Senator Jose Rodriguez of El Paso: “It is clear to me that this is not about public safety. It is about sending a message that immigrants, whether they are legal permanent residents waiting for citizenship, undocumented migrants seeking to join their families, or refugees looking for a chance at a better life, are not welcome.”

State Senator Borris Miles of Houston: “As a former police officer, I know that relationships with communities and police are essential to ensure public safety. I was proud to stand against this measure and vote no. Now, the bill will go to the Texas House of Representatives and I encourage my colleagues there to carefully consider the impact this bill would have on our communities and Texas.”

State Senator Kirk Watson of Austin:  “I love our state. But Texas has a sad, sinful, stained legacy of mistreating people who don’t look like me. This bill and this vote write another ugly chapter in that history.”

 

 

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Crucial Deadline Passes on In-State Tuition Ban, Racial Profiling Law

Our friends at KeepHB1403.com remind us that the Texas Senate missed a deadline on Saturday to pass SB1819, a bill to ban in-state tuition rates for undocumented students who meet local residency and other requirements.

According to the group, if the Senate had passed the bill by the deadline, it also needed to have gone to a Texas House committee for consideration prior to a vote by the full House. Since none of these occurred, it becomes a lot more difficult to pass a ban, but not necessarily impossible if it is attached as an amendment.

Also, SB185, which would allow immigrant status checks by local law enforcement (a racial profiling law) seems to have experienced the same situation after it was “not placed again on intent calendar” on Saturday. Could it be added as and amendment? Well, you never know. With a few days left in the Texas Lege, all eyes are on a lot of legislative battles over amendments and bills that made the deadline.

Obviously, Abbott could call a special session for any of these things, and if he doesn’t, they’ll come up again in a couple of years.

We’ll keep an eye and ear open.

Update:  The DMN reports on this, too, as does the Amarillo paper. The AGN had some surprising GOP quotes, too. In fact, even Charles Perry, the senator who wrote SB185, says it is dead.

State Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, gave stronger reasons for opposing SB 185 and Senate Bill 1819, the in-state tuition bill filed by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels.

“Let me just say that there are three problems with (SB) 185,” Estes, said. “It is absolutely important to realize that it’s the federal government’s job to enforce our immigration laws, and I worry about the burden that it puts on our local police.

“Point No. 2 is this: I feel that the bill lacks the protections for American citizens being stopped at random. American citizens, no matter what their ethnic origin, have the right to go about their daily business and not be stopped and be questioned. … Let me say this: The phrase ‘Show me your papers’ is more like Nazi Germany than it is about the U.S.A.

“The third reason is a political reason. … For the Grand Old Party, the Republican Party to be viable in the future, we have to compete for the American Hispanic vote. And nothing could alienate Hispanic Americans more than being stopped at random arbitrarily and asked their status because of the color of their skin.”

Well, OK, then!

Inbox: Anti-Immigrant Bill Heard in Senate Subcommittee

Credit: State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia

Since I’ve been busy with my move to another part of Houston, I was unable to take part in the actions today at the Capitol. Thanks to Senator Jose Rodriguez’s staff, we got this e-mail about the Subcommittee hearing on SB185–the racial profiling bill (aka sanctuary cities).

 

AUSTIN – Senate Bill 185, which was heard in the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security today, would outlaw so-called “sanctuary cities” — a term that has not been defined — by prohibiting Texas governmental entities from passing laws to restrict police from asking about immigration status.

The bill affects cities, counties, special districts, and districts attorneys. It exempts school districts and hospital districts, but includes peace officers employed or commissioned by school districts and hospital districts.

S.B. 185 specifically prohibits policies that prohibit:

  • Inquiring into immigration status lawfully detained;
  • Sending or requesting information from U.S. CIS or ICE;
  • Maintaining the information;
  • Exchanging information with other state or federal entities;
  • Assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable or necessary; and
  • Permitting a federal immigration officer to enter and conduct enforcement at a jail.

S.B. 185 provides that any entity in violation shall be denied state grant funds for the following fiscal year after a finding of a violation by a judicial determination. Senator Rodríguez issued the following statement:

Even after today’s lengthy committee hearing, it is still unclear what problem S.B. 185 is attempting to solve. If it’s an attempt to address criminal activity along the border, then we need to better fund local law enforcement, not interfere with local governments’ ability to work with their respective communities. If it’s an attempt to address immigration issues, then that is clearly within the purview of the federal government, not the state.

This bill is a repeat of legislation that was defeated in 2011, and it’s simply bad policy and bad business for our state. I am concerned about the message S.B. 185 sends. Even if it’s not written exactly as Arizona’s S.B. 1070, the intent appears to be the same. The goal seems to be to encourage more local enforcement of immigration laws, and although it could affect anyone, it’s aimed at Texas’ immigrant communities.

With less than eleven weeks left in the legislative session, we have serious business that we need to attend, including passing the budget, school finance, infrastructure and other key governance issues. Yet here we are spending far too much time on legislation that is unwarranted and divisive. I hope that we will prevail as we did in 2011, and the Legislature will demonstrate that Texas is not a “show me your papers” state.

Six major points illustrate why S.B. 185 is bad for Texas:

  1. It seeks to solve a non-existent problem. There is no indication that local law enforcement needs this authority, which is reserved exclusively for the federal government, to keep communities safe. Quite the opposite, as point number two illustrates.
  1. It harms public safety. Today, El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles and El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal spoke out against this legislation because it would undermine law enforcement’s ability to work with immigrant communities and effectively combat cartel activity. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and many other local law enforcement leaders have made similar comments.
  1. It’s bad business for Texas. Similar legislation in Arizona cost $5 million in lost taxes from S.B. 1070 and $135 million in lost economic output. As President/CEO of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce Richard Dayoub testified today, we can’t afford to lose current business or future investors. It also does not make sense to drive workers away from labor-intensive but critical sectors such as construction and agriculture.
  1. It targets children. While S.B. 185 exempts school officials, it includes school peace officers. I’m not one who thinks it makes sense to punish children who are in our communities, regardless of documentation, by pushing them out of school and into the streets.
  1. It has legal consequences that will inevitably lead to racial profiling, and violations of the Equal Protection Clause, the Supremacy Clause and the Fourth Amendment. In fact, the issue already came up in El Paso County, where the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department was sued for pulling passengers off a bus and asking them their immigration status; the lawsuit was settled when the department agreed to establish a written policy and train its officers. Further, it places schools in an untenable position: If their peace officers do not ask immigration questions they could lose state funding, and if they do ask they could be sued in federal court.
  1. It hurts families. So called “sanctuary cities” policies have the potential to divide mixed-status families in Texas. Leading leaders speaking against this legislation today, including the Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Anti-Defamation League, Evangelical Pastors, and numerous other religious orders and clergy members.

ALERT: Texas Senate Republicans Set Hearing on Anti-Latino Bill

Republicans have set a hearing to debate and railroad through committee SB 185, a sanctuary cities bill which will allow local and state law enforcement to participate in immigration duties through the practice of racial profiling (frankly, I can’t see how racially profiling Latinos will not happen). Here’s the committee hearing info:

SENATE

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

COMMITTEE: Veteran Affairs & Military Installations-S/C Border Security

TIME & DATE: 8:00 AM, Monday, March 09, 2015

PLACE: 2E.20 (Betty King Cmte. Rm.)

CHAIR: Senator Brian Birdwell

The Subcommittee will consider the following:

Relating to the enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration by certain governmental entities.

One can read the bill here. And the bill analysis is here.

Here’s a bit of the explanation:

(f) Provides that, in compliance with Subsection (e), an entity described by Subsection (a) may not prohibit a person employed by or otherwise under the direction or control of the entity from doing any of the following:

(1) inquiring into the immigration status of a person lawfully detained for the investigation of a criminal offense or arrested;

(2) with respect to information relating to the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any person lawfully detained for the investigation of a criminal offense or arrested:

(A) sending the information to or requesting or receiving the information from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including information regarding a person’s place of birth;

(B) maintaining the information; or

(C) exchanging the information with another federal, state, or local governmental entity;

(3) assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable and necessary, including providing enforcement assistance; or

(4) permitting a federal immigration officer to enter and conduct enforcement activities at a municipal or county jail to enforce federal immigration laws.

The law will punish local governments who do not participate in legalized racial profiling by not providing any grant funds the state may give. It all allows citizens to file complaints through the Texas AGs office to punish local governments, too. And even file frivolous lawsuits.

Interesting was that the proposed law would not include school districts, charter schools, or hospital districts; although, a cop working for a hospital district is allowed.

It’s just your usual racist bill from Republicans who have nothing better to do. If you want to go fight it on Monday, send them my regards.

If you want to contact all three members of the Border Security Subcommittee, here’s links to their contact info:  Birdwell, Hall, Lucio.

It’ll get uglier as Republicans have their sights set on Latinos and immigrants this session.