A bill filed Tuesday would require Texas cities to enforce federal immigration laws or risk losing state money.
The legislation by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, seeks to short circuit “sanctuary city” policies that prohibit or discourage police, jail personnel, prosecutors and other officials from inquiring into the immigration status of anybody who has been arrested or detained.
“It’s bad policy and bad policing to mix immigration and local law enforcement,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership, a criminal justice and immigration reform advocacy group based in Austin. “People then conflate local police with immigration (agents) and are afraid to call the police.”
Several courts have found that requiring people to be held on suspicion that they are in the country illegally, without a warrant, violates the Constitution, Libal said.
“It’s mandating that communities violate the constitutional rights of their residents, and it’s setting communities up to be sued,” he said.