Texas House OKs 'sanctuary city' ban with tough jail penalty

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Anti- and pro-immigration battles are happening at the local level, as well, including in Texas, where one state lawmaker is in the midst of a hunger strike in protest of a pending sanctuary cities bill.

Senate Bill 4, which was passed by the Texas Senate in February, would require all law enforcement honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers.

Early Thursday morning, the Republican-controlled Texas House approved a strict sanctuary city ban in the country's second-largest state.

Rep. Mary Gonzalez told the House that she believes the bill will expose undocumented Texas residents to more crime.

The debate comes on the heels of a federal judge's ruling that blocked President Trump's executive order that aimed to withhold federal money from cities and counties deemed sanctuary jurisdictions by the federal government. "This bill specifically targets criminals who happen to be here illegally", Geren said.

The next stop for SB 4 is a conference committee where appointed lawmakers will gather to hash out the differences between the Senate and House version before giving it a final nod.

"We're going to give them Hell today". During his state of the state speech, he suggested SB 4 could have stopped Juan Rios from killing two people - but Rios had in fact already been deported three times by then.

Ramon Romero Jr.Many in the ministry and those among their flock also oppose anti-immigrant measures they view as antithetical to the ideals of religious life.

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The Texas House proposal originally allowed local law enforcement officers to inquire about federal immigration status only if someone is arrested.

Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, said approving the bill would add to an already heightened sense of fear among community members. They are concerned with what the bill would mean to police agencies in Texas and how it could affect public safety.

Under the House version of the bill only people who are arrested can be asked about their status. Insiders say House democrats have more than 100 amendments ready to be filed. "We're not exaggerating ... when we say the people who will feel the biggest effects of this are the most vulnerable, the women, the children, the survivors of sexual assault, rape, human traffickers, the people who will feel the disconnect from law enforcement, the people who are supposed to make them safe".

Fierce resistance has come from Texas Democrats and immigrants' rights organizations, as well as from some in law enforcement and top business lobbies.

Representative Victoria Neave, who fasted in protest of the bill, gets emotional while telling about growing up as the daughter of an undocumented dad.

This fast is her spiritual stand, she says, in opposition to an anti-"sanctuary cities" bill poised to become law in her state - and in the face of death threats criticizing her on social media.

But Neave told local media she's anxious the legislation will make immigrants afraid to report crimes or testify in court.