ACLU of Texas Reacts to House Passage of Carrollton Rep's Sanctuary Cities Legislation

As the Texas Tribune notes today, in the wee small hours of the morning, the state House passed Carrollton state Rep. Burt Solomons's HB 12, the so-called "sanctuary cities" legislation deemed an emergency item by Gov. Rick Perry. As the Trib's Julian Aguilar sums it up, those who are for the bill -- which would allow law enforcement officers to ask those arrested and detained if they're here legally -- insist it's "a necessary tool to free up law enforcement to better identify those in the country illegally, including criminal." Meanwhile, those against it "fear it will lead to racial profiling and harassment of legal residents and citizens."

Well, this just landed in the Unfair Park in-box: reaction from ACLU Of Texas's Executive Director Terri Burke and Legal Director Lisa Graybill, who insist this is just taking Texas down the path blazed by Arizona, which, as Aguilar notes, "faced widespread condemnation after it enacted SB 1070 [and] has since been sued by the U.S. Department of Justice and has lost millions in tourism and convention-related revenue." Jump for the outrage.

Update at 3:04 p.m.: This just in from Rick Perry, who says, "I applaud members of the House for passing legislation that will ban sanctuary cities in Texas and commend Rep. Burt Solomons' leadership on this issue, which will strengthen the discretion our law enforcement officers need to effectively protect Texans."

Executive Director Terri Burke said, "State leadership said we wouldn't go the way of Arizona SB 1070 on this issue but this definitely takes Texas in that direction. This copycat version of Arizona's infamous law will have severe economic consequences in Texas just as in Arizona and will subject Texas residents to a whole rash of civil liberties violations."

Legal Director Lisa Graybill said, "The U.S. Constitution gives the federal government exclusive authority to enforce immigration law, with limited exceptions." said Lisa Graybill, Legal Director of the ACLU of Texas. "States exceed their authority when trying to take this law into their own hands, and risk creating a patchwork system of different immigration laws which vary from state to state. This is as impractical and unworkable as it is unconstitutional."

The Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas has adopted a policy on immigration and civil rights affirming "the right of all persons to equal treatment and due process under the law."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky