You’ll be hearing that quite a bit over the next few days because President Obama’s administration has tapped former Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt (pictured) for a key position at the Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement agency. Trouble is, Houston is not a “sanctuary city.”
From the Fox article:
Hurtt has always been a proponent of the jail model of the 287(g) program, which gives local police authority to initiate deportation proceedings against illegal immigrants linked to serious crimes — but as a police chief, he didn’t favor more proactive local enforcement because he didn’t believe it was the best utilization of his resources.
As you can see, the Houston police department initiates deportation proceedings against illegal immigrants who are arrested for serious crimes. What they don’t do is send officers into neighborhoods on a mission to find illegal immigrants wherever they may be.
It should be noted that the very conservative Republican former sheriff in Houston, Tommy Thomas, also utilized the 287 (g) program used in Houston during Hurtt’s tenure. The conservative Heritage Foundation calls 287 (g) the “Right Answer for State and Local Immigration Enforcement.”
Whether rounding up illegal immigrants is a good use of local police resources is up for debate, but a “sanctuary city” would not try to deport illegal immigrants for any reason. That’s what would make it a “sanctuary.” Get it?
Also, you should check out this recent article in the Texas Tribune examining the immigration policies of the City of Houston versus the Texas Department of Public Safety. If Houston is a “sanctuary city,” then Texas is a “sanctuary state.” It does not appear that either would be a true statement. I spoke with Matt Stiles at the Tribune about that story. You can hear our conversation here:
– Scott Braddock