House Passes Bill Allows Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Laws

The Texas House has passed a bill that would allow local police to help enforce federal immigration laws. Supporters of the "sanctuary cities" bill say it's needed to crack down on illegal aliens, but critics say it will lead to racial profiling and detract from real police work. Ed Mayberry reports.

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.


Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

News Anchor

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with much of his early career as a rock’n’roll disc jockey. He worked as part of a morning show team on album rock station KLBJ-FM, and later co-hosted a morning show at adult rock station KGSR, both in Austin. Ed also conducted...

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