Texas House calls for immigration law enforcement

Posted: May 10, 2011 in Border Control & Illegal Immigration

Associated Press
May 10, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – As President Barack Obama prepared to speak Tuesday in Texas about America’s “broken immigration system,” lawmakers in Austin moved forward with a measure that would force local police to give federal immigration offenses the same priority as other crimes.

The proposed law, which now goes to the state Senate, does not go as far as Arizona’s requirement that police check people’s immigration status. But it bans cities or police departments from telling officers not to actively enforce immigration laws.

The approach reflects the careful path Republicans in Texas must take between meeting conservative demands for tougher immigration measures and alienating a growing Hispanic population. Democrats Monday night reminded Republicans that Hispanics were watching such bills closely.

“When you cast this vote, I hope you realize, it will be a vote that 9 million Hispanics will take personally,” state Rep. Jose Menendez said during debate.

The House approved the measure 100-47 after Republicans moved to cut off all debate on the issue, using a parliamentary maneuver that allows the majority to ram through bills. Gov. Rick Perry declared the measure to be emergency legislation. He said local law enforcement agencies were not doing enough to catch and deport illegal immigrants.

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