Texas House Passes Sanctuary City Bill After Emotional Testimony

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Mary Lou Lang Contributor
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The Texas House after an emotional day of testimony passed a sanctuary city bill early Thursday morning that would make it a crime for local law enforcement officials to not cooperate with federal authorities on immigration.

In a 93 to 54 vote mostly along party lines, the controversial bill was passed and came after one of the “slowest moving but most emotional legislative days at the state Capitol,” reported the Texas Tribune.

The vote came after 3 a.m. after Rep. Dennis Bonne, R-Angleton, made what some called an unprecedented motion to group all the remaining amendments to the bill and record them as failed. There were more than 100 amendments.

The debate on the sanctuary bill was reportedly 15 hours long, and some Democrats even cried, one fasted for days, and many wore butterfly pins in support of DREAMers.

Dozens of protesters, many waving signs and banners opposing the bill and its supporters, gathered inside the Texas Capitol to chant pro-immigrant slogans in English and Spanish, reported ABC News.

Some even filed into the House’s visitors gallery to applaud the opponents of the bill. One woman yelled at Republican lawmakers before she was escorted out, “God is watching what you’re doing.”

The bill would allow local peace officers to question the immigration status of those they legally detain and not arrest. It would also allow for the removal from office any law enforcement official who does not cooperate with federal immigration officials. Those who do not comply also could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and could face jailtime.

Many took to social media to express their outrage of the bill’s passage.

“The anti-sanctuary cities bill aka SB4 has passed the Texas Legislature—I have never felt more afraid to walk around the city out of fear of being racially profiled & detained for being brown,” wrote Heather K. Buen on Twitter.

Governor Greg Abbott has indicated his support of a ban on sanctuary cities in his state.