Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick promises to eliminate “sanctuary cities” in Texas “once and for all” next year.
President-elect Donald Trump says he’ll do the same nationwide.
Trump’s on stronger legal ground. Patrick and the Legislature should step aside.
State Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, has filed Senate Bill 4, the vehicle that Patrick plans to use to force all Texas cities, counties and other special districts to assist in enforcing federal immigration laws.
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The bill would sanction any of those entities that fail to check the immigration status of anyone in their custody and report them to federal authorities if they cannot prove lawful presence in the U.S.
The penalty would be loss of all state grants for a year. That’s called “a gun to the head,” and not even Congress can go that far.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that only the federal government can enforce immigration law. Congress must step carefully to avoid coercing local assistance, but it can withhold a portion of federal grants (legal scholars say about 20 percent) from entities that stand in the way.