The term “sanctuary cities,” which has no exact definition, once again has become a buzzword in the Texas Legislature on the issue of immigration, with another bill against them having been introduced.
Implied by the term is that there are local governments that harbor illegal immigrants. They do so, supposedly, by forbidding local law officers from enforcing immigration laws.
A bill written by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, would prohibit cities and counties from adopting policies that restrict their peace officers from asking the immigration status of those they stop and detain.
Similar legislation was offered four years ago, with the strong support of Gov. Rick Perry. It failed in the regular and special sessions.
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Legislators should reject this recent attempt as well. Immigration law enforcement falls under the purview of the federal government, and the state should not be in the business of telling local governments how to set their policing priorities.
But because of this Legislature’s makeup, with a strong conservative bent, this may be the year that such an unnecessary law will pass.