As illegal immigration has become a major issue once again, many Texans are pointing to the state sponsored magnets that bring illegal immigrants to the state. Chief among them are sanctuary cities; cities and jurisdictions that provide safe harbor to illegal immigrants by refusing to enforce immigration laws.
In the Republican primary on March 1st, 62.7% of voters supported Proposition 2 which called for cities to either comply with immigration laws or suffer the loss of state funds.
When grassroots Republicans from around the state convened at the state convention in Dallas, the margin was even greater. In a ballot vote on the platform, 95.6% of delegates voted in support of the following plank:
“Consequences for Noncompliance – We support denial and/or withdrawal of public funds for entities, public and/or private, not in compliance with our immigration laws, including sanctuary cities.”
Like many illegal immigration issues that conservatives have targeted reform, efforts have fallen short not because of Democrats, but liberal Republicans.
Much like legislation that would have repealed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, a measure by State Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) was scuttled in the Texas Senate last year after turncoat Republicans made clear their intentions to vote with the Democrats in order to block any reforms.
In the Texas House, State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) once again served as the hatchet-man for the coalition government that controls the chamber. As he had done in two previous legislative sessions, Cook killed sanctuary city legislation along with other significant reforms aimed at illegal immigration.
Considering illegal immigration’s dominance in this year’s campaign cycle, the issue is guaranteed to take center stage once again in the Texas Legislature.
However, advocates for action should be emboldened rather than discouraged.
Gov. Greg Abbott has picked up the call to end sanctuary cities, and a more conservative Texas Senate should be able to pass the legislation. Passage will hinge on whether the Straus coalition can kill the issue despite an assault on three fronts.