Senate passes sanctuary cities bill just one week after Governor Abbott declares it an emergency item.
AUSTIN – The Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 4 today, aimed at ending sanctuary cities and counties across Texas. The bill prohibits local entities from implementing policies that undermine or interfere with the enforcement of state and federal immigration laws. The bill passed by 20-11 on a straight party line vote in the Texas Senate.
Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) introduced the bill on the floor today in response to local officials refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies when it comes to criminal illegal aliens. This bill comes at a critical time as the Texas Department of Public Safety reports over 212,000 criminal aliens booked into local Texas jails between June 1, 2011 and January 31, 2017. These criminal aliens were charged with more than 566,000 criminal offenses including charges of homicide, assault, burglary and kidnaping.
“I am proud to pass legislation that upholds the rule of law and protects Texans,” declared Senator Perry. “The safety of our communities relies on law enforcement agencies working together at the local, state and federal levels. Those promoting sanctuary cities and failing to cooperate with other agencies are in effect evading their first duty to protect and serve the citizens of Texas,” he added.
Senator Perry was ably assisted in the floor debate by State Affairs Chair Joan Huffman, Vice Chair Bryan Hughes, Chair Jane Nelson, Chair Brian Birdwell, Republican Caucus Vice Chair Brandon Creighton, and Senator Dawn Buckingham and with the unanimous vote of all 20 members of the Senate Republican Caucus.
“The Senate Republican Caucus salutes the leadership of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick for making Senate Bill 4, ending sanctuary cities in Texas, a priority early in the legislative process,” said Caucus Vice Chair Brandon Creighton.
“The Senate has acted to ensure elected officials honor the oaths they swore to their citizens,” stated Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Paul Bettencourt. “Sanctuary counties undermine the rule of law and jeopardize the safety of all Texans. Elected or appointed officials should not make this bad public policy decision, period,” he added.
Senate Bill 4 has passed the second reading and will go on to a third reading with final passage Wednesday morning. The bill as amended now carries civil penalties for non compliant jurisdictions and allows a county district attorney to review whether a Class A Misdemeanor should be filed on the elected or appointed official who intentionally or knowingly violates Senate Bill 4.