by Regina Cantu @ Matt.org
Yesterday the House passed HB 12, co-authored by Rep. Linda Harper Brown (R-Irving), which ensures that law enforcement officers are not prohibited from upholding the immigration laws of our state and nation.
Specifically, House Bill 12 includes language that an entity, “may not adopt a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the entity prohibits the enforcement of the laws of this state or federal law relating to immigrants or immigration, including the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.” This means entities must allow officers to inquire into the immigration status of a person arrested or detained for the investigation of a criminal offense and allow information to be exchanged withanother federal, state, or local governmental entity, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“As an elected officeholder, it is my responsibility to abide by the oath of office to, ’preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state.’ Prohibiting law enforcement officials to ask the immigration status of individuals has hindered the ability of officers to defend the laws of this state. I am honored to be a co-author of this responsible legislation that gives local authorities the tools needed to keep Texas families and communities safer,” Brown said.
Rep. Roberto Alonzo (D-Dallas) disagrees. He started out telling Texas Insider, “The vote on HB 12 today shows clearly the Arizona-style tactics some of our lawmakers are promising to use to turn Texas into another Arizona. Not only is the measure outright Draconian, ridiculous and outrageous, it simply sends the wrong message to all Texans specifically and Americans and businesses at large from all corners of the country that we are a very insensitive state to live in, raise and educate our children and grandchildren, and do business in.”
He went on to say, “I am not surprised once again that some of my colleagues continue to stoop this low and take aim at immigration reform issues that I firmly believe can be better addressed if left at the hands of our federal government to take care of and pursue through more effective comprehensive immigration reforms.”
Alonzo also said, “Many local law enforcement agencies are already short-staffed, low in adequate financial resources and human manpower, and simply cut too thinly to effectively do their primary jobs, which is to provide safer neighborhoods and patrol our communities. Most importantly, at a time when we are faced with the budget crisis that we are currently in, I do not understand why lawmakers cannot get their priorities straight and deal with the important issues at hand rather than meddling with federal issues we have no businesses getting involved with at all.”
The bill will now be sent to the Texas Senate for approval.