Texas Mulls Arizona-Style Illegal Immigration Law

AUSTIN (AP) – State and local police officers would be allowed — but not required — to help enforce federal immigration laws under a compromise plan working its way through the Texas Legislature.

The bill is a far cry from some of the harsh crackdowns some lawmakers proposed, but it still sparked often emotional testimony in a House committee Wednesday night. Dozens of supporters and detractors packed a hearing room outside the Texas Capitol, eager for a chance to air their views despite the late hour.

Supporters generally said the legislation would help police identify illegal immigrants who commit crimes in Texas. Critics said it would lead to racial profiling, detract from real police work and give license to rogue agents who want to harass immigrants.

The bill’s author, Republican Rep. Burt Solomons, said it would prohibit so-called “sanctuary cities” and law enforcement entities from adopting policies that keep police and criminal investigators from providing immigration enforcement assistance. Republican Gov. Rick Perry put the issue on the fast track at the Capitol after making it a major theme of his 2010 re-election campaign.

Unlike Arizona’s new immigration law, parts of which are being challenged in court, the legislation known as House Bill 12 does not require police officers to inquire about immigration status or enforce federal laws when people are detained. But the bill would not allow any law enforcement agency from adopting policies that prohibit them from doing so. Solomons said his proposal would establish a “uniform consistent policy” across the state.

“There’s nothing in this bill that requires a police officer to ask one question that they don’t think they need to ask,” Solomons said. “We’re not mandating anything.”

It would allow police to ask about immigration status, maintain records of it and work with federal agents on immigration matters when people are “lawfully detained for the investigation of a criminal offense or arrested.” Other legislation similar to the Arizona law was also proposed, but Perry’s office has been working with Solomons on the compromise bill. The legislation was left pending in a House committee Wednesday night, but other bills were being debated, including one that would make English the official language and create a state database of illegal immigrants arrested in Texas.

An estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants are in Texas, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington. Nationwide, their numbers declined between 2007 and 2009, from 12 million to 11.1 million, the first significant drop after two decades of growth. But their combined population in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana went up by a statistically significant 240,000, the center reported last month.

Immigration curbs have caught fire nationwide. In 2010, a record number of laws and resolutions were passed by state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which calculated that 46 states and the District of Columbia had passed 346 measures, with an additional 10 having fallen from gubernatorial vetoes.

Former Houston police officer Rick Salter, who was shot in the face by an illegal immigrant in 2009 and who now speaks through paralyzed vocal chords, was among those urging lawmakers to pass HB 12 Wednesday night. His wife, Sue Salter, broke down in tears when it was her turn to speak.

“We’re not worried about the safety of our own citizens in our wonderful state of Texas,” she said. “You won’t know that until you’re slapped in the face by something that happens to you by an illegal immigrant.”

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, arguing against the legislation, said he sympathized with victims of crime by illegal immigrants. But he said local police already are helping federal officials prosecute and deport illegal immigrants without getting mandates from the state.

“We are leading through emotion and politics instead of good public policy,” Acevedo said.

Other critics said the bill could allow local police agencies, including those run by school districts and college campuses, to become de-facto immigration enforcement agents. Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said the legislation would let rank-and-file police officers spend all the time they want enforcing immigration laws even if their supervisors don’t want them to.

“This officer … is given the authority to say to the police chief, to the mayor, to the City Council: I don’t care how much time it takes, you can’t stop me from doing this,” Turner said.

Update 12:20 pm

William Gheen with Americans for Legal Immigration debates with Charles Foster, who advised President Bush on immigration issues on 1080 KRLD about “Sanctuary Cities” in Texas

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • http://fortworthinsight.com/news/texas-mulls-arizona-style-illegal-immigration-law/ Texas Mulls Arizona-Style Illegal Immigration Law « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Texas Mulls Arizona-Style Illegal Immigration Law Police officers would be allowed to enforce federal immigration laws under a plan working its way through the Texas Legislature. Go to News Source […]

  • Bud Lang

    Texas could become a police state with legislation, starting with this bill. I guess that is what Perry is interested in. Actually, I only know that Perry is interested in establishing a power base whereby he makes all the decisions. Any other place, we could call it a dictatorship but we choose here to call it good old Texas style conservative politics. It says here that Rep. Turner has stated that the legislation would let rank-and-file police officers spend as much time … even if their supervisors don’t want them to.” This scares me. Maxwell Smart Perry ain’t … or is he?

    • Rowwdy

      That is garbage Bud. Texas is doing what a lot of other state’s taxpayers wish their states would do. You don’t think old Liar in Chief hasn’t been trying to create a police state? AKA Marxism? Sigh, too many pandering liberals, too little time.

    • porchhound

      Yeah and you are the same person that said a conceal carry law would have blood flowing in the street! Ann Richards vetoed that law the first time around and you see how that worked for her..Texans (not liberal TRANSPLANTS like you) want real change in this illegal immigration problem so get on board or get out of the way or move to Mexico.

    • LibwithIQ

      Pure ignorance. This bill just demands that all state law enforcement agencies follow the same laws and procedures. And if it scares you to have the law enforced then you are going to be scared s–tless. People are tired of the lack of law enforcement on this matter.

    • funkflush

      Pretty stupid comment… look up the record of the liar (Sylvester Turner) who made the statement. Are you seriously going to just believe the scare tactics, the very thing the libs claim conservatives use? You sound like a lib hack who wants to stoke the flames a little bit.

    • Jay

      Bud, you are right, but the vast majority will not see things the underlying problems.

      Should immigration laws be enforced? Absolutely. But the job of police officers is to maintain peace and law and order in the community. If they start enforcing federal laws, (1) it will interfere with their regular tasks and overload them (2) it will create distance between them and some minority communities. Some abused ones in those communities will not seek police help out of fear. Well, they are illegal, we dont care what happens to them right? But the perpetrators will still be on the loose if a victim of minority community doesnt report the crime out of fear of the police officers.

      Immigration laws need to be enforced, buit by the appropriate authorities. Tighter border security, putting controls in place to stop employers from hiring illegals, adding more federal agents who are the ones who are supposed to enforce immigration laws.

      And finally…how in the world are they going to verify legal status? Does every constable know the complex immigration laws? Are they going to ask for drivers license? passport? visa? I can give u examples of situations where

      1. You could have a drivers licence with no legal status
      2. You could have no drivers licence and have legal status
      3. You could have no visa stamped in your passport and still have legal status
      4. You could have a valid visa but lost your legal status
      5. You could have an expired visa and still have legal status

      • wolverine

        You have to provide proof of citizenship to get a driver’s license in Texas.

      • Mr. Skippy

        Ever heard of E-Verify?
        U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. This diverse workforce contributes greatly to the vibrancy and strength of our economy, but that same strength also attracts unauthorized employment.

        E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use – and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce.

      • Ar Amytas

        Or like most of these slimeball illegals, you could have a set of ID’s that you purchased on the street. Birth Cert, Social Security Card, Passport, all printed up in some illegals shop. They were just busted here in South Bend, IN for printing the counterfit ID’s. Part of a ring of counterfeiters.

      • Ricky Clay

        It Seems you are being selective in your argument against local law enforcement enforceing federal law. When a bank is held up (Federal Law) it is local police who are called, not federal police. it is the duty of Law enforcement to uphold and enforce the laws, they do not have the choice of picking and chooseing what law they enforce. Federal laws are enforced every day in local areas, this should be no diffrent. Your Argument is not valid.

    • GrumpyOne

      I understand that when a police officer begins service, he swears to uphold and defend the constitution, laws of the nation as well as his local entity. If I am correct in this assumption, what’s the big fuss?

      Acevedo has stated very recently that he did not want to enforce immigration statutes. Is this not a cause to impeach/remove him?

      Well, not in liberal Austin I’m sure!

  • Theresa Atkins

    What you need to do is send every illegal back to Mexico. They do NOT deserve to come over here and receive any medicaid assistance from our government. Elderly are being refused socila security raises because our government gives it all to the illegals. What I would like to know is do anyone of you know what illegal is??? If you are going to let them come here and commit the crimes they commit then you should just open the prison doors.

    • Mark

      heeheh, and do think all illegal are from Mexico. There are millions from Europe, Asia, and Africa……… ignorant idiot racist

      • Steve

        90% of the illegals here are from Mexico – just a fact. And we really don’t care where they’re from only that they’re not suppose to be here. Only a racist sees & hears things thru racist eyes & ears.

    • ROBERT


    • roadchick

      Ummm…Mexicans aren’t the only “illegals” in this country. There are plenty of white illegals in the US (Irish, Australians) who are far more likely to take your job. Your comment just exposes your racial bias.

      • wyzbok

        Only there are far fewer of them…

      • dave

        do i have to point out how stupid your comment is? i guess so… irish and australians are not the problem, they cant just walk across the border. its not racist to identify the mexicans as the problem. the mexicans are the problem because they are the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants coming here. its just a fact. deal with it, and open your eyes when you walk down the street, or come to california, or texas, or arizona, or utah, or michigan, or newyork, or new mexico…

      • Bob

        maybe, but my guess is 90% of the illegal’s are not white. A few generalizations are not a bad thing. Smote, fire, Fire, hot…

      • RoBoTech

        and your comment shows YOUR racial bias.
        I guess you don’t have a clue what 82% of illegals are Latino (64% of that is Mexican ) means, huh.
        It doesn’t matter what race or ethnicity an Illegal is, Illegal is Illegal.
        It’s not hard to profile this, and profiling IS what any Law Enforcer does on ANY case.
        YOU are the one making the racist comments

      • Sam

        Last I heard the Irish, Australians were not smuggling drugs and doing robberies every day ! It is true I do not like mexicans because they refuse to learn English and steal our tax money!

    • MGTRRZ

      Nothing is ‘Across the Board’ – Including Your Mythical CLAIM concerning Social Security and Medicaid…The Government is Too-Busy giving Money to Wall Street-the Already RICH, and ITSELF – and fighting ‘UNWINNABLE Wars’ both abroad
      and within…to worry about Your future-The Government is only worried about IT”S Own Future…
      As for the term “Illegal’- It’s is quite evident by your ‘claims’ what ‘ilk’ of the argument You subscribe to…
      Many contributions have been made to this Country by Latino-Immigrants…Some-
      one ‘like You’ of course, would NEVER admit to that FACT…You’re to Consumed
      by Your Prejudice and Hatred and Vitriol to Utilize REASON as a barometer as to WHY Proposed Laws such as THESE are Inhumane, Discriminatory and Xenopho-
      bic…STOP speaking of Immigrants as IF They were ALL CRIMINALS—Blanket
      ‘CLAIMS’ such as Those only Speak to Your ‘IGNORANCE’…-and do Nothing to Support or Substatiate Your FALSE Claims. Lies and Ignorance are ALL that People like You have to offer-THAT offering will NOT do anything but Foment more Ignorance and Lies…This Issue NEEDS Solutions—NOT ‘V I T R I O L’ and empty
      HATE Rhetoric…

      • Viva The Awesome Contributions!

        MGTRRZ, you said “Many contributions have been made to this Country by Latino-Immigrants”.
        Let’s see some of the things whitey invented were light bulbs, telephones, modern engines, televisions, computers, automobiles, airplanes, cameras and penicillin. Basically the building blocks of every modern convenience the world enjoys.
        Okay, what were the contributions you spoke of? Mostly modifying inventions whitey already contributed? Although, what am I thinking? I forgot about contributing the drug cartels, that’s something we never had.
        Oh I forgot tacos, I do love Mexican food . . . well, maybe not authentic Mexican food like entrails i.e. menudo . . . I like TexMex anyway!

      • Viva The Awesome Contributions!

        MGTRRZ, you said “Many contributions have been made to this Country by Latino-Immigrants”.
        Let’s see some of the things whitey invented were light bulbs, telephones, modern engines, televisions, computers, automobiles, airplanes, cameras and penicillin. Basically the building blocks of every modern convenience the world enjoys.
        Okay, what were the contributions you spoke of? Mostly modifying inventions whitey already invented? Although, what am I thinking? I forgot about inventing the drug cartels to get money from whitey and learning to use Western Union to send money back to the casa so it can’t be taxed.
        Oh I forgot tacos, I do love Mexican food . . . well, maybe not authentic Mexican food like entrails i.e. menudo . . . I like TexMex anyway!

      • silence

        Immigrants enter legally, criminals enter illegally, not really that difficult to distinguish the two. The immigrants who truly helped build this country entered legally at Ellis Island and were recorded, they didn’t steal across our borders hiding in car seats or in tractor trailers and they certainly didn’t come across our southern border in groups by use of coyote smugglers/drug runners.

      • Bob

        Just curious, how about listing those many contributions made to this Country by Latino-Immigrants. I dont recall any Latino founding fathers, or Latino statesmen that did anything but pander to the latino community. I don’t remember any Latinos that faught for the abolishment of slavery, or the right to vote for all people. I don’t remember any great Latino scientists. Although I can name authors that were anglo Americans, English, French, German, Russian, Chinese, and African; I can’t name a single Latino author. In fact the only two latinos that I can name that have done anything for this country are Cesar Chavez (whose only lasting effect has been to increase the price I pay for farm picked foods) and Ernesto Miranda ( a convicted kidnapper and rapist- yes he was convicted for it). If theres anyone else let me know, and i’m talking about real contributions to all humanity and civilization, not just latino activists whose only goal is promote the agenda of the latino community.

      • Sam

        Latino-Immigrants ? Don’t you mean mexicans ?

      • mike


      • Sam

        mike-You are confused ! The republican tea terrorist are the Nazi’s!

    • les

      without proof of citizenship there should be no federal assistance ( i.e. health care,housing , food stamps or drivers license’s . i know i am sick of paying for them !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Ruth

        Illegals getting housing, medical, food, and now college assistance while we “legals” pay our way. Texas A&M has illegals on assistance and my child will need to go somewhere else because of cost (wrong because we LIVE in C.S.). They need to go home or at least we shouldn’t be paying for them to be here.

  • Rowwdy

    “Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said the legislation would let rank-and-file police officers spend all the time they want enforcing immigration laws even if their supervisors don’t want them to.”

    Spoken like a true socialist selling out our country to illegals. What part of ILLEGAL ALIENS doesn’t this Turner get? What part of CRIMINAL OFFENSE doesn’t he understand?

    It is time more states took the initiative to rid us of the locust swarming in. Darn sure the feds aren’t going to do it. Obama would lose half of his voting base if there was an honest to God mass deportation of these criminals.

    How many more dead CITIZENS at the hands of illegals do we have to see before our cowardly government does something? Round them up, move them out. Let Mexico deal with their trash.

  • Porchhound

    “Acevedo”…hmmmm…AUSTIN…oh yeah!!! I GET it! A hispanic liberal against this policy saying “don’t change nuthin Esse..the system is working!!”

  • SD Fin

    Why is it always someone w/ a Hispanic name who’s trying to stop us from getting illegals out of our country? They’re not suppose to be her !

    And “local police already are helping federal officials prosecute and deport illegal immigrants”? I beg to differ – at least in Ft Worth as, when I was robbed twice by the same illegals (renting homes in my neighborhood), the police said they can’t do anything about it. They also don’t consider burglary a real problem but these people were stealing for drug money. Is drug use not a problem either? It is to me when they’re taking away my feeling of safey in my own home.

    • Bob

      Its because although this guy may be legal, chances are his uncle Jose is illegal. The only reason so many american born Latino’s would support illegal immigration is if the have a person reason for letting it continue.

  • LibwithIQ

    Apparently Acevedo hasn’t heard about the lack of police action in “sanctuary cities” Somebody has to do something to curtail illegal immigration and it’s apparent the federal government is not going to take it on themselves.

  • Steve

    Could someone possibly make the comment text box text black instead of gray? It’s hard to proofread your comments before submitting. A real eye strain.

    • LibwithIQ

      Good idea.

    • funkflush

      Maybe it depends on your settings. My comment box is white.

    • Jay

      The comment box is white, but the text is light gray….it’s ridiculous…

  • darrell

    first let me say this. Illegal is illegal!!!
    if you do not have the right to be here you need to go. some will say targeting illegals is racist. it is unfortunate that it will affect a one segment of our society much more than others but it is not racialy motivated. those who make that claim are most likely looking for political gain, financial gain or are racist themselves.
    removing current and halting future illegal aliens will do more to protect this nations security than any war/s in the middle east or against terrorism will ever do. illegal aliens have themselves become economic terrorists draining billions of taxpayer dollars every year in social programs, medical expenses, lost tax revenue, entitlements, crime, jail/prison, jobs and due process.

    it is the duty of every citizen to protect this nation from foriegn invaders and subersive elements. when you illegaly cross that border you have effectively just invaded this country. you are a criminal the second your first foot hits the ground. your motivations do not matter. you have no rights. you deserve no quarter. you are an invader and a suspected terrorist from day one.

    the only difference between the terrorist who highjacked 4 planes and killed thousands on 9/11 and illegal aliens is, the terrorists had a legal right to be here. thats it. they both are commiting acts of terrorism in this country.

    we must remove these economic terrorists. illegal is illegal and this applies to all races, all creeds and all religious beliefs.

  • Jim

    Rep Sylvester Turner thinks we will have rogue policeman if this bill is instituted!!! Watch out because these law enforcement officers will stop becoming policeman and become vigilante imigration officers with no accountability! Even though this bill does not force them to do anything. They willt take it upon themselves and go ROGUE!!! We all better run for our lives!! Even if we are here legally!

  • SD Fin

    Austin – Texas taxpayers spent at least $250 million last year in state prison and health care costs for illegal immigrants alone.

    Our budget could be put back in the black if the millions we are spending in education, social services, gang activity & crime were eliminated by getting these people – who are not suppose to be here – out of our state. I really don’t care where they go but, if all states were really united in this, they’d leave our country.

  • fish

    I am all for any and every city/town that calls it self a “sanctuary” city to lose all state and federal benefits it recieves. We need a secure border first, then sweep all these people back across it to their own countries. Tired of my tax dollars going to help them out and cover their emergency room visits to drop an anchor baby.

  • Billy Bob

    Adios amigos!

  • silverdragon8448

    Just close the borders and stop money transfers into mexico. Classify all illegal immigrants as terrorist.

    • Steve

      How do we know they aren’t terrorists? 100s from the Middle East w/ terrorist ties have been caught sneaking thru our southern border. Besides, cartels & gangs are terrorists. And I’m tired of hearing people whine about crimes they committed – even murder – while on illicit drugs. That’s why they were made illegal in the 1st place. Anyone want to guess why Vicente Fox legalized so many drugs before he left office? And guess what promptly started happening w/ the violence there & at the border?

  • eric

    about time. these vermin and subhuman leeches are sucking the life out of this country. its time that this so called multiculturism is a weakness, not a strength . it pits races against each other, illegals cost billions yearly to support and real americans pay the bill. enough is enough.if you have cancer, you cut it out or chemo it. this cancer must be killed along. with all santuary cities

    • Emily

      Vermin and subhuman leeches!?! I hope you don’t consider yourself a Christian talking like that. You should be ashamed of yourself. It’s one thing to oppose an issue, it’s another to spout that sort of hateful vitriol.

  • nugy

    why isn’t illegal immigration being treated as law breaking.you come here legally you are not breaking the law.we are a country of laws.why isn’t this being enforced,if not enforced the law is breaking the law.

  • Ellie Light

    Illegal = Illegal way to go TX law is loong overdue you will be joining 29 other states being sued by OBumbles & Holder

    States keep doining the will of the people (Illegals out ) you know OBumbles & Holder will keep trying to pass amnesty for those future democRAT voters

  • Ellie Light

    Illegal = Illegal way to go TX law is loong overdue you will be joining 29 other states being sued by OBumbles & Holder

    States keep doing the will of the people (Illegals out ) you know OBumbles & Holder will keep trying to pass amnesty for those future democRAT voters

  • Ellie Light

    Only good illegal is one that is south of the border

  • pafaery

    Texas politicians are weak on immigration. They are still thinking it over and have almost decided that the best thing to do is to build toll roads. Thus increased profits for the state by charging the illegals a fee to drive to Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Problem solved.

  • SD Fin

    And, like Riddle is considering, don’t give special permission to those willing to work certain jobs like housekeeping, lawmowing, etc. Our teens & unemployeds can have these jobs as well as citizens who want to work a 2nd job. Letting illegals take them jjust continues to give them, their families as well as smugglers access to our country. If foreigners really want these jobs, they can come thru legal channels to come here.

    Next step, make it against Texas law for hospitals to give those born to illegals citizenship. If their parents hadn’t broken a federal law to get here, their kid would’ve been born in their own country. They shouldn’t be handed US citizenship – let them try it in another state & bleed off them, not Texans.

  • spartan

    The only thing that I like to make clear is that no all the inmigrants are mexicans, but for some reason almos everybody have the idea that inmigrants are coming only from mexico,people need some education and study some geography and learn that there are so many spanish speaking countries in the American Continent.

    • LibwithIQ

      You make a good point by by and large the majority of illegals entering into the southern border states are from Mexico. The biggest reason for this is Mexico has a stringent border policy on their southern border. Something we don’t have.

  • http://habarizanyumbani.jambonewspot.com/2011/03/03/texas-mulls-arizona-style-illegal-immigration-law/ Texas Mulls Arizona-Style Illegal Immigration Law « Habari Za Nyumbani–on jambonewspot.com
  • SD Fin

    According to City-Date, if you add up the populations by race in just the 5 major cities in Texas, our state is just under 50% Hispanic. With so many of those not speaking English & millions of others speak w/ that anchor baby accent, I’d guess that a large # of those didn’t enter our country legally. I’m in Ft Worth where 3/4tds of my neighborhood doesn’t speak English, signs are going up in Spanish only, flyers & store proeducts are increasingly in Spanish only, govt docs are put in English & Spanish then again in Spanish only & has anyone looked at how many jobs that requie Spanish even tho they’re not conversing w/ a foreigner in their own country? I need a job – I can’t have one because the only qualification I don’t have is Spanish?

    I’m tired of living in Mexico. Is our whole state going to end up like El Cenizo where the major entered the country illegally then stamped the official language Spanish?

  • SD Fin

    Make that City-Data. Can’t see this gray type on white very well.

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