Monday, June 13, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican leadership in Texas are trying to pass a law that would prevent cities from becoming “sanctuary” cities. The term "sanctuary city" has no legal meaning, but it generally refers to a municipality that has established policies prohibiting police officers from enforcing immigration laws or cooperating with federal immigration officials. In fact, Texas law states that police officers generally cannot arrest people without probable cause of a crime, and immigration violations often are civil matters, not criminal cases.
So, okay, where are these sanctuary cities in Texas? As far as I am aware of, None of Texas' major cities claim to be a “sanctuary” city. So, then, what is behind the motive of our gun-toting governor and his Republican cohorts? It's simple, this is just another cover for the anti-Hispanic agenda being advanced by the governor and his Republican compatriots in Austin.
Some have said Houston is a sanctuary city and Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio are also in the same line. Ironically, all of the police officers in the cities mentioned above are following what is practice by the Texas Department of Public Safety of not allowing troopers to inquire about immigration status during routine patrols. Houston does not allow its troopers to stop individuals solely based on the suspicion that they might be illegal immigrants. "We do not enforce federal immigration laws," said Tela Mange, a DPS spokeswoman has said in news reports. "If, for some reason, a trooper on a traffic stop suspects that someone may not be here legally, the trooper can contact ICE for assistance, but we can't detain that person solely because we think they may not be here legally."
With no respect to the people in Arizona who supported anti-immigration legislation, if this sanctuary bill persists and becomes the norm of the law, our legislators will bring shame to Texas. Unfortunately, "Gov. Perry and the Republican-led Legislature are on the brink of enacting a law that will bring shame to this state, hurt our economy, set back public safety and insult my family," State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte wrote.
Van de Putte argues that the state's Republican leadership is pushing a measure that would allow law enforcement to judge her by the color of her skin even if she had not committed a crime. I agree. All Texans should be outraged.
Fact is, the Texas Rangers, DPS, the state's business community all feel this is a bad idea that would negatively impact the economy and cause much unneeded strife for all citizens of Texas. "Policies such as these serve only to rip communities apart, and rip families apart," Van de Putte has said.
Texas' strength is its diversity and its acceptance of other cultures as it tries to identify what Texan represents. It's as simple as ordering a Polish sausage taco (sausage wrap)at a high school football on Friday nights, having a beer at Wurstfest in New Braunfels and celebrating the Czech heritage in La Grange. The names of our cities and towns speak of diversity: Fredericksburg, San Marcos, Pawlekville, Benavides,etc. Texas is nothing more than a blend of cultures. The Spanish and Mexican took the accordion that the Czech, German and Polish immigrants brought to Texas and trasnformed its sound into a unique blend of music that has evolved into Tejano. Why stop that natural evolution where bratwurst and chorizo can co-exist?
Let's make one thing clear right now. Rick Perry is not thinking about Texans at this point. He is thinking about a possible run for the Republican nomination for president or vice-president. This is why our state is now allowiwng anti-immigrant propaganda to rear its ugly head in our state. It's propaganda for Perry. Nothing more.
Now, we are no better than Arizona. Why have we decided that we are no better than Arizona? As Sen. Van de Putte points out, "Let's not forget that since Arizona passed its legally challenged law, tourism has gone down and so have tax revenues from visitors. The economy has taken a big hit and job growth has stalled. The situation is so dire that this year, as conservative extremists tried to move new anti-immigrant bills, business leaders told them to stop for the sake of the state's economy. And they did."
We are better than Arizona, right? Let's stop this. Let's send Perry the message that Texas' strength is its diversity. Democrat Leticia Van de Putte represents District 26 in the Texas Senate.