One of Texas’ largest business associations is claiming that sanctuary cities are somehow “pro-business.”

Sanctuaries cities are municipalities that undermine or refuse to comply with federal immigration laws. It’s an issue that was thrust into the national spotlight after an illegal alien in San Francisco, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, killed an innocent American, Kate Steinle. Zarate was acquitted Thursday of murder and involuntary manslaughter charges, as well as assault with a deadly weapon, sparking a fierce controversy.

What many Texans may not know is that the left-leaning Texas Association of Business (TAB) supports sanctuary cities. In their 2017 legislative scorecard, which rated Texas House lawmakers on only 17 votes, the TAB negatively rated those who voted to ban sanctuary cities in Texas, known legislatively as Senate Bill 4 (SB 4).

SB4 was strongly supported by conservative lawmakers in the Texas House and Senate, along with Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

But the House watered down SB4, under the leadership of Speaker Joe Straus and his allies. In response, members of the conservative Texas Freedom Caucus, State Reps. Matt Rinaldi (R—Irving) and Matt Schaefer (R—Tyler), successfully passed an amendment to strengthen the bill with an overwhelming majority of Republican support.

Conservatives had won, despite opposition from TAB lobbyists and SB 4’s author, State Rep. Charlie Geren (R—Fort Worth). Geren was backed by liberal Republicans such as State Rep. Jason Villalba (R—Dallas) and a united Democrat Caucus.

Democrats and their liberal media allies immediately labeled SB 4 “racist” and claimed it would result in “racial profiling,” harassment, even discouraging illegal residents from reporting crimes inside their communities.

TAB apparently didn’t read the bill, because SB 4 does the exact opposite of what its critics claim. The bill explicitly prohibits racial profiling and prohibits law enforcement from inquiring into the legal status of those who report crimes. SB 4 also creates a presumption of legal status for those who carry a driver’s license, which did not previously exist in state statute.

It raises several questions: Why would a business association, with a mission to support the interests of Texas businesses, support sanctuary cities, and then misrepresent the legislation to the public?

The answer is two-fold. A faction of liberal business owners support open borders and undermining the rule of law. In addition, TAB has a track record of advancing left-wing policies to undermine conservatives, rather than promoting pro-business policies.

TAB made headlines for opposing the Texas Privacy Act (SB 6), which protected the rights of private businesses to determine their own bathroom policies, free from city interference. The Texas Scorecard later revealed that the TAB received more than $130,000 in funding from prominent LGBT groups.

TAB’s credibility as a “pro-business” advocate was further called into question after their scorecard was released, as it rated most House Democrats as more “pro-business” than many Republicans. In fact, thanks in part to its support of sanctuary cities, more government spending, and corporate welfare, their highest-rated House member is a Democrat. Conversely, conservatives such as Rinaldi and Schaefer rank near the bottom.

Even more telling, TAB’s scorecard also excluded major legislation such as property tax reform and other critical measures. If the TAB only supports “pro-business” issues, why would they exclude bills that would directly impact the taxes paid by their members?

The reason is simple: Including tax reform would have hurt TAB’s scorecard ratings of Democrats and liberal Republicans, while helping conservatives. Much like their opposition to the Privacy Act, the association’s support of sanctuary cities is yet another example of them putting liberal policies above business interests and public safety.

Ross Kecseg

Ross Kecseg was the president of Texas Scorecard. He passed away in 2020. A native North Texan, he was raised in Denton County. Ross studied Economics at Arizona State University with an emphasis on Public Policy and U.S. Constitutional history. Ross was an avid golfer, automotive enthusiast, and movie/music junkie. He was a loving husband and father.