Texas Bill Would Tie Hands of Local Law Enforcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), which would impose harsh civil and criminal penalties on cities, counties and law enforcement that elect not to carry out immigration enforcement beyond what federal laws require, among other provisions.

“I think it makes our jobs as law enforcement professionals more difficult when people are afraid to come forward and report crimes, either as a witness or as a complainant. … This is the wrong approach,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Wednesday regarding SB 4. “We can do better. This is not the Texas or the America that we should aspire to be.”

Gonzalez and other sheriffs have explained their opposition in the Dallas Morning NewsUSA Today and Austin American-Statesman, and police chiefs also are expressing concerns.

“Violent crime is on the rise across our nation, and some would rather men and women in blue go after cooks and nannies instead of hardened criminals,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday night on Twitter.

Members of the faith community are raising objections as well.

“SB 4 is a disgrace. It is a reactionary bill that is totally insensitive to the very people that have assisted us so faithfully for so many years. This is not how we should treat our fellow man,” said Dr. David Galvan, Pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Dallas. “It is the unfortunate response of our state leaders to the Congress of the United States, which has demonstrated complete irresponsibility in not having passed, by now, a comprehensive immigration reform bill.”

“Immigration enforcement is a federal duty. The Texas governor and legislature should not force federal responsibilities on local law enforcement,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “We need to make sure local law enforcement can do their job effectively. Our neighborhoods are safer when everyone in the community can trust the police.”


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