Illegal Until Proven Legal


Eileen Smith

One of Gov. Rick Perry’s emergency items this session was to ban so-called sanctuary cities, which supposedly protect illegal immigrants by prohibiting police officers and local law enforcement from inquiring about someone’s immigration status. You can see why that’s an emergency. Why worry about such trivial issues as education or health care or feeding children when there are civil rights to be trampled?

Perry wanted to abolish sanctuary cities back in 2009 and this time both the House and the Senate have done his bidding. It’s good to be king. House Bill 12 by Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, prohibits the adoption of “sanctuary city” policies that bar local law enforcement and other governmental entities from verifying one’s citizenship. In addition, the bill would withhold state grant money for cities out of compliance. That’ll teach ’em for harboring illegal immigrants, otherwise known as potential terrorists.

The more comprehensive border security legislation sponsored by Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, has already passed the Senate and been sent to the House for final approval. Senate Bill 9 would mandate that cities and municipalities adopt a federal immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities, which requires law enforcement to run the fingerprints of anyone arrested—even for traffic violations or public intoxication—through FBI and immigration databases. This information would determine whether or not the person can be deported. Time well spent. Now law enforcement, drowning in bureaucratic paperwork, will have to rely on local citizens to defend themselves against armed robbery and assault.

But wait! There’s more! The bill would also require proof of citizenship to obtain or renew a driver’s license. Yes, Texas already denies driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Now we’ll really, really deny them.

To be fair, it was the Department of Homeland Security which created Secure Communities in the first place. The DHS require the program to be implemented nationwide by 2013. Texas just likes to be first when it comes to blatant discrimination. SB 9 also specifies that any “sanctuary city” that refuses to comply could be subject to a potential lawsuit from the attorney general. Finally Greg Abbott will have something to do besides filing lawsuits against global warming regulations and health care reform.

Although there is no legal meaning in being designated a sanctuary city, citizens can do their part, too, of course. If you’re wondering whether or not you live in a sanctuary city, why not start going door-to-door and asking for proof of citizenship? It’s a great way to meet your neighbors.