The Texas House is debating whether or not to require local police to enforce federal immigration law.
Gov. Rick Perry declared the ban on so-called sanctuary cities an emergency matter. He says all Texas law enforcement agencies should tackle the problem of illegal immigration.
Police chiefs across the state oppose the bill because they say it will make their jobs more difficult. Illegal immigrants will not report crimes if they think police will check their immigration status, and police say they already have a full plate without adding immigration enforcement.
The following excerpt is from the March 2, 2011 House State Affairs Committee meeting. The exchange can be found from the committee’s broadcast archives, at the 44:11 point of the video.
(Rene) Oliveira is a Democrat. (Burt) Solomons is one of the top Republicans in the Texas House, and also chairs the House committee on redistricting. Bold emphasis is mine.
Rep. Oliveira: I will be crystal clear with you, too. I am opposed to sanctuary cities, but I still don’t know if one exists. If you find one that exists, I’d love to hear it.
Rep. Solomons: Based on what I’ve read, we don’t have any, so I don’t know what the big deal is.
Rep. Oliveira: Then we don’t need the bill, I guess.
Rep. Solomons: No, I think we need the bill because enough people perceive that this is a problem, and so in context, we probably ought to ensure that we have a uniform consistent policy in the state of Texas about this.
"Sanctuary cities" -- which legions of Texas conservatives wailed and thrashed about during the gubernatorial campaign of 2010 -- don't exist, according to one of the leading Republicans in the Texas House.
I'd like to repeat that so it sinks in: "Sanctuary cities" DO NOT EXIST.
Next "emergency" for the Texas GOP: outlawing unicorns. But only if "enough people" object to their non-existence, like they do voter "fraud" and "sanctuary cities".
There's also monsters under your bed, conservatives. Shouldn't there be a law against those?
Update: Oops. I was mistaken. Rick Perry's next emergency is corporate immunity from the consumers they injure or damage. What a country (if you're corporation, and not a person). Harvey Kronberg wrote "How To Blow Up a Session" just before 1 a.m. Saturday morning.
Apparently the inmates are running the asylum and they are being bullied by a half million or so hard right Republican primary voters in a state of twenty five million.
Yesterday, with the Senate capitulation, it looked like the budget was all but done and the only possible special session might be over congressional redistricting.
Since then (Rick) Perry has decided “loser pays” is an emergency item the House must take up in its final five days of hearing bills on second reading. Dewhurst has told Associated Press that he is abandoning the 2/3s rule, which he may or may not realize undermines his own power going forward. Meanwhile, the House is tied up in knots over points of order on such silliness as sanctuary cities as the clock keeps ticking.
To date, the Governor has failed to identify a single sanctuary city in Texas.
Here is where we are as the must-pass HB400 melted down tonight on what appears to be a fatal point of order. (HB400 is the school district bill that allows flexibility in hiring, firing and compliance with mandates and is reportedly worth billions in the budget) ...