Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sanctuary City of Austin, Time for a Change

Statesman reports that two State Reps are asking for an AG opinion on what the state of Texas can do about sanctuary cities. Austin's non-enforcement of immigration law makes it a sanctuary city, as the article notes:

Current policy prohibits Austin police from stopping or detaining people solely to check their immigration status or checking the immigration status of victims or witnesses, but does require cooperation with immigration officials to help identify illegal immigrants who commit crimes.
What should our policy be? Sheriff Hamilton did the right thing at the Travis county jail to allow ICE to review the immigration status of prisoners in the jail. City policy should also review the immigration status of all those arrested by the police. It is also wrong to prohibit immigration status checks as a whole, although it may be reasonable to prohibit checking the status of victims and witnesses. If there is suspicious activity from illegal aliens, why not check their status and bring them in? Even though robbing banks is a Federal crime, it is absurd to insist that local law enforcement not detain bank-robbers on an FBI wanted list. It also does our city little good if we are jailing and releasing illegal aliens who commit petty crimes when we could deport them and thereby ensure they are committing crimes here again.

This is not about turning Austin police into ICE, but about enforcing laws that apply here on a uniform basis without unwarranted exceptions that incite lawbreaking. The City non-enforcement policy should be changed, and it will be a pity if Austin can't see the need for such change rather than getting it forced on us at the state level.

UPDATE: A reminder from San Fransisco of the price of sanctuary city policies - illegal aliens who committed violent crimes are released after doing time and go on to assault and kill others.


Randy A. Samuelson said...

What is disturbing is that the Democrats will not allow for a challenge to any sanctuary city or immigration enforcement policy until 2011.

In the 82nd Texas Legislature, redistricting is a major issue. Illegal immigrants will be counted as part of the 2010 census and will therefore have districts carved out for citizens living in Texas against federal laws.

Once the Democrats gain more political power by protecting sanctuary city policies and by hamstringing local law enforcement officials, you might see them get tough on some immigration policies. But until then, there are enough votes in the State Legislature to block any meaningful immigration law changes at the state level.

Anonymous said...

Interesting connection. So you are basically saying that the Democrats need the illegal aliens to stay in order to get more districts that are Democrat? hadnt thought of it that way.

The fact that illegal aliens may be counted in the census is an important issue and it should be raised and fixed at the Federal level. We should not be apportioning districts on that basis at all, and I could even envision a legal challenge to it on the basis that it discriminates against people in districts without illegal immigrant populations by diluting their votes.

Btw, also the lack of action at state level is not just the fault of the Democrats, although they are primary impediment. It was TAB (Hammond?) who joined the liberal groups like LULAC to put the kibosh on immigration bills in last session. Cheap labor lobby is part of the issue.

IMHO this all can be separated from sanctuary city policies in that changing police regulations is not about removing all illegal aliens, but more about making sure the least desirable ones, ie, those picked up for crimes, are deported.