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“Sanctuary Cities,” Freddie Steinmark, and Milo Hamilton: Friday’s Show (September 18, 2015)

A term has risen in the more recent debates about immigration: “sanctuary cities.” The concept is this: that there are some cities in the United States that will go out of their way to protect immigrants who have entered the country illegally from federal immigration officials. The argument from some conservatives and anti-immigration groups is […]

A term has risen in the more recent debates about immigration: “sanctuary cities.” The concept is this: that there are some cities in the United States that will go out of their way to protect immigrants who have entered the country illegally from federal immigration officials. The argument from some conservatives and anti-immigration groups is that these cities are ducking federal immigration law. It’s why the U.S. House of Representatives voted recently to cut funding to such municipalities (the U.S. Senate has not followed suit, to date), and why Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has indicated plans to try to pass a law banning them in Texas during the 2017 legislative session.

The counter-argument from liberal-leaning and pro-immigration groups is that so-called “sanctuary cities” aren’t really what those opposed to them say or think they are, that there are a variety of municipalities across the country with ordinances barring immigration officials from seeking the immigration status of someone who, say, receives a traffic ticket, or gets arrested for a misdemeanor. Or that bar local authorities from calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under suspicion about a person’s immigration status. Or that leave it to local authorities’ discretion. They also argue conservatives are trying to steer the debate towards these municipalities and away from more aggressive prosecution of employers who hire undocumented workers.

But when a more heinous crime is committed, and the suspect ends up being someone who entered the United States illegally, it stokes the flames of opposition to such ordinances, whether they would have made a difference or not. (One such case took place back in July in San Francisco, when 31 year old Kate Steinle was allegedly murdered by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who entered the country illegally).

On this edition of Houston Matters, we talk with Texas Tribune reporter Julián Aguilar about the political weight behind the term “sanctuary city,” and whether Houston is considered as such a city.

Also this hour: The name Freddie Steinmark might be a familiar one to UT football fans: he helped the team win a national championship against Arkansas in 1969, before cancer cut short his football career and his life. His story helped inspire lawmakers to pass the National Cancer Act of 1971. A new film about Steinmark called My All American arrives in theaters in November. There’s also a new book out about him called Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football, co-written by one of his close friends and teammates, Bower Yousse, who along with co-author Thomas Cryan talks with Houston Matters’ Paige Phelps about Steinmark’s life and legacy.

Then: A lot can happen in a week. Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it downright ugly. When faced with intriguing developments in the week’s news, we turn each Friday to our rotating panel of “non-experts” to parse The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of it all. This week, comedian Ty Mahany, attorney Tamara Tabo, and political blogger Charles Kuffner contemplate the good, bad, and ugly of allegations of discrimination at a Midtown bar, Rick Perry’s aborted presidential run, and the suspension and arrest of a high schooler for bringing a homemade clock to class.

Plus: We remember the life and career of longtime Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton, who passed away Thursday. News 88.7’s Jack Williams has a remembrance.

And: Houston Public Media’s Ernie Manouse talks with the folks behind mini murals on traffic signal control boxes in southwest Houston.

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