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Texas Senate Committee On State Affairs Hears “Sanctuary City” Testimony

State lawmakers discuss prohibiting local law enforcement agencies from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration detainers. But committee democrats question whether the bill will deter the public from cooperating with police.

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There were some disruptions as the committee heard from witnesses…

(Senator Charles Perry:) “It will not take long, if people are responsible in their messaging that…(singing from Gallery observers)…(Chair Joan Huffman:) please stop your singing…”

Almost 500 people were signed up to testify — two minutes each. Senate Bill 4 from Republican Senator Charles Perry of Lubbock seeks to ban so-called “sanctuary cities.” Opponents say communities are safer when people can report crimes without fear of deportation.

But Jackson County Sheriff A.J. Louderback says ICE already has remedies for this. “We have a U visa for all victims of crime. We have an S visa for all witnesses and informants. And we have a T visa for all human trafficking victims.”

Former Sheriff Ron Hickman from Houston also appeared before the Senate committee. “No one should have any fear of driving down the street running a stop sign or red light and being taken to jail and being deported. That’s simply not how the program works.”

But not all law enforcement officers are behind the bill. Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez has resisted detention requests, causing the governor to withhold some federal funding. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Sylvester Turner have also voiced concerns.

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