On May 7, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB4, which had been approved last week by the Texas House 93-54. This legislation, which bans so-called “sanctuary cities,” had been declared to be a top priority and an emergency item by the Governor and Republicans in the House and Senate. In his Jan. 31 address Abbott stated, “Elected officials don’t get to pick and choose which laws they obey.”
Locally, Mike McCloskey, who has served on the Texas State Republican Executive committee in Senate District 5 for three years, testified in support of the bill in the Senate State Affairs Committee; “Nearly 63 percent of 2016 Republican primary voters supported the withholding of funds from sanctuary cities, so we made the issue one of the party legislative priorities in this year’s session. While voter opinion is not binding, it is instructive and makes for a stronger argument in the legislature. The Bill passed out of the committee 7-2.”
Although hundreds testified against it, the bill was heard on the floor last week and was approved, and McCloskey said there have been some inaccuracies in reporting; “During the debate someone stated that law enforcement does not support the bill. The fact is, Sheriffs in 252 of Texas’ 254 counties are in favor of it, so with the voter and the Sheriff feedback, we know we have broad support for it.”
He went on to say that debate against projects an unclear picture of what the bill is about. “It’s not anti-immigrant. It is anti-criminal. We are talking about people who enter the country illegally, which is a criminal activity. As well, if you are working illegally in this country, you are either being paid under the table or using someone else’s stolen identity. Both are fraud and they are crimes.”
“We are proud to have pushed through the first major piece that passed both houses. The Senate has 29 larger bills, but Texas is the first to have a statewide vote on sanctuary cities.
This bill will only affect people who are or have committed a crime, and Texas residents know that their tax dollars will not be spent to support sanctuary for criminals.”