Senate Tentatively Passes “Anti-Sanctuary Cities” Bill

The Texas Senate late Tuesday, Feb. 7, gave preliminary approval to a controversial immigration measure to ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in the state. Reportedly the bill as presently written would affect colleges and universities, in addition to jurisdictions such as counties and municipalities that have received more publicity.

Senate Bill 4, filed by state Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), “would punish local and state government entities and college campuses that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or enforce immigration laws. The vote was 20-11 along party lines,” according to an article in the Texas Tribune, by Julian Aguilar.

The article says the bill does not apply to public schools. However, please note this passage from the piece regarding colleges:

The upper chamber also predictably shot down by party line votes several amendments Democrats offered to make the bill more palatable to their constituents, including a measure by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, that would have excluded college campuses.

Please read the entire article for details. Authorities disagree on what exactly college officials would have to do to comply with the measure, if passed. Since this issue involves both federal and state jurisdictions, things could get complicated—and litigious. As we know, undocumented students are enrolled at many community colleges and universities in Texas.

Upon final Senate passage, the bill heads to the House, though whether the lower chamber will accept the bill as presently written isn’t clear. Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), filed a companion bill to Sen. Perry’s original proposal, but the House “hasn’t yet named committees and isn’t moving as fast on this — or any other legislation — as the Senate is,” according to the article.