Texas Senate bill on immigration increases pressure for sanctuary cities
by Cheryl Piccio, ABS-CBN News
HOUSON, TX — On Tuesday, Feb 6, the Texas Legislature approved Senate Bill 4 — which would defund cities in Texas that do not comply with detention requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Texas State Governor Greg Abbott has called the bill one of the priorities of his administration.
An executive order signed by President Trump in January would also cut federal money to be granted to these so-called “sanctuary cities.”
“Anti-sanctuary cities” have been a consistent theme for Trump and his supporters who seek to draw a link between illegal immigration and crime.
“I think it’s shameful; these people coming across the border are all criminals. We have laws that need to be enforced by our administration,” said one Texas resident.
The stakes could be high.
According to Houston’s 2015 comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city receives $255 million in federal funds, and $13 million in state funds — which can be used to help finance community programs and ongoing city operations.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says that he is concerned about the actions and words that are coming out of D.C.
However, the Mayor insists that Houston will continue to be “a welcoming city.”
“There is a lot of fear and anxiety with people believing that if they leave this country, they can’t come back,” said Turner in a press conference.
“As the most diverse city in the nation, we place a high priority on inclusiveness and acceptance and tolerance of differences.”
Filipino Americans in Houston have also found themselves caught between the dueling immigration issue, as fallout from the Texas Senate Bill and the White House’s immigration ban has unknown implications for the 4th largest city in America.
“I’m here today to support the movement against illegal immigration. We need to do something against the movement of illegal immigration in this country,” said one supporter.
“We are down here today to support love and condemn hate. We are the richest country in the history of the world. We can take care of these people all their lives,” said a protestor. “We have to really stand up for what truth is.
Fil-Am business owner Nelvin Adriatico says the issue has largely impacted his business.
“It impacted my business…I have some clients doing my program, and because of the ban, they had to cancel. They were already approved for a visa, but he emailed me and said he could not come anymore.”
While Houston’s Mayor Turner has committed to continue to enforce the law and comply with the US constitution, the executive order to strip federal grant money from sanctuary cities, has put the Trump administration on a collision course with mayors of the largest cities in the country.