The measure would allow police officers asking about the immigration status of people they detain. Houston Mayor Annise Parker says this new directive would be a mistake.
“It doesn’t address the fundamental issue, which is that the federal government has not secured our borders. And it has no even common sense protections for someone who is a victim of a crime or a witness to the crime to come forward. It will absolutely have a chilling effect on our ability to investigate crimes.”
Representative Jose Menendez of San Antonio worries about the law being enforced equally.
“You get pulled over, you get asked for your drivers license, your proof of insurance and your proof of citizenship. This way there is absolutely no way to have any kind of racial profiling. The law is applied uniformly across the board on everyone, no matter what they look like. No longer will you put a police officer in a position of having to determine whether someone looks like they’re undocumented or not.”
House Bill 12 is an unfunded mandate. State Representative Eddie Rodriguez of Austin worries about the fiscal impact.
“My police chief has told me — I had a long conversation with him — there’ll be, there’ll have to be new hires or pay overtime. Because if you’re going to enforce this law, then that’s going to mean that officers are not going to be doing some of the other things that they need to be doing.”
Law enforcement officials say a routine traffic stop that normally takes 15 minutes will now turn into an hour-long immigration check, at a time of dwindling resources.