With exceedingly pressing issues such as school finance, budget cuts, tax reform, mental health and overhauling Child Protective Services, any rational person must ask why our Republican state legislators insist on creating needless distraction and further constituent division by wasting time on another sanctuary cities bill. Wasn’t the election of Donald Trump as our president supposed to place this constitutionally prescribed federal matter squarely in capable federal hands?
One of the primary issues catapulting Trump into the White House was widespread public frustration with what is perceived by many to be federal failures regarding immigration (even though deportations under President Obama exceed those of any president). So, given that their man is headed for the White House, the only reason we can see for Republican state lawmakers continuing to intrude on this federal matter is because it plays well with gullible voters.
This could represent what’s known as “belt-and-suspenders legislation,” indicative of politicians who pass laws covered by other laws. It gives them something to crow about when they go home. One might argue legislators had fair cause to push this particular legislation before Trump’s surprise election, but now that he’s to become our president and Republicans control Congress, how about waiting for federal solutions in what is definitely a federal province — assuming we’re all still going by the U.S. Constitution.
State Sen. Charles Perry’s sanctuary cities bill has some useful provisions, including one that would seem to forbid racial profiling, but the fact remains legislators must do a far better job of explaining just what defines sanctuary cities. If Texas has sanctuary cities, then Perry and his colleagues should specifically single these cities out beforehand — and honorably allow legislators representing those cities and their mayors to justify their actions if they can.
We might add that many city law enforcement officers statewide oppose Sen. Perry’s bill. While new Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt didn’t express specific political opinions on it during our recent interview with him, he did explain (and quite well) the logistics involving limited manpower and resources when we asked of occasional complaints about traffic and crime in our city. Wonder how he’d feel if the state of Texas — and without any extra funding — dumped federal immigration duties on his officers, already stretched taut protecting us all.