Sanctuary cities bill, Benny Hinn, American Airlines: Your Thursday morning roundup

by Marta Holmes April 28, 2017, 0:59
Sanctuary cities bill, Benny Hinn, American Airlines: Your Thursday morning roundup

It would force police departments and sheriff's offices to comply with routine requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to detain immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally - requests that immigration attorneys and even one federal court judge say are flawed, fall below the legal standard of a warrant, and are therefore unconstitutional.

Nevertheless, around 3 a.m., after more than 16 hours of debate, the bill passed 93-54, along party lines. Houston's police chief has said that already the number of Hispanics reporting rape in that city is down 43 percent from past year, and that reporting of other violent crimes saw a 13 percent dip during that same time. Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, carried the House version, modifying it slightly after concern from House members and more than 600 committee testifiers.

The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Republicans want local police to help federal authorities as part of a larger effort to crack down on criminal suspects who are in the US illegally. The bill previously limited that provision to cases in which the person has already been arrested.

Calling it the defining showdown of this legislative session for their constituents and wearing black in protest, outnumbered Democrats had lined up scores of amendments and planned to fight Senate Bill 4 late into the night.

Democrats, and even some veteran Republicans, unsuccessfully opposed the change.

The version of the bill passed by the house is considerably stronger than the proposal brought to the floor. That approach (designed to foster community policing and trust of law enforcement among marginalized groups) earned the ire of Gov. Greg Abbott, who rescinded a wide array of county grants in retaliation.

At the state level, much of lawmakers' discussions have centered around Travis County Sheriff Sally Gonzalez's policy, which does not honor ICE requests unless someone has been charged with murder, human trafficking or aggravated sexual assault.

Rep. Joe Moody added an amendment to the bill that would prohibit healthcare professionals, mental healthcare workers and community centers from asking clients about their immigration status.

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"If they feel fear, sadly we feel they won't come forward with critical information", Acosta said. Many of his colleagues decried what they called a "show me your papers law". "God is watching you!", yelled a woman watching the SB 4 debate unfold below her, before being ejected.

Throughout the floor debate, House Democrats had done everything from warning Republicans against heckling them to shedding tears during floor speeches.

El Paso State Representatives Mary Gonzalez, Cesar Blanco, Lina Ortega, Joe Moody and Joe Pickett are opposing the bill.

The last meal Neave had was the Holy Communion on Sunday, while attending mass in Dallas.

She said the bill exemplifies the fear her parents experienced "each day their little girls went to school". Similar efforts have collapsed in the past, meaning the issue isn't yet fully settled.

Sheriffs warn the bill could make their jobs harder if immigrant communities-including crime victims and witnesses-fear the police.

The bill, SB4, would ban local governments and universities from instituting "sanctuary" policies and allow law enforcement to ask people about their immigration status.

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