Governor Rick Perry says he wants local law enforcement to help join the fight tackling immigration. The House passed a bill last night that would allow local police to help enforce Federal Immigration Laws in our communities. Supporters say the bill will create safer streets and neighborhoods, however many Police Chiefs and Sheriffs across the state oppose the measure.
Local law enforcement already have standard procedures in place when dealing with illegal immigrants and they do not expect many changes to come if the legislation is passed. They're also helping calm concerns about the pending legislation.
Texomans might have mixed feelings about our state's push toward tackling immigration issues. Wichita Falls resident Gonzalo Robles says, "I know that there is a lot of people that think that's what its leading to, to personal profiling or racial profiling. That by the color of your skin they are going to be able to stop you." Electra Police Chief Johnny Morris assures that the measure that is working its way through the Texas Legislature will not lead to racial profiling. Police Chief Morris says the public is getting the wrong perception and police will never stop a citizen who appease to be an illegal immigrant of any nationality.
Instead the bill will give local law enforcement the authority to question people who are detained about their immigration status. Something Chief Morris says they already do. Under current procedures, if you get pulled over, law officials have the right to check your immigration status. If they pull someone over who has no identification they can take them in and call ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Even if Texas takes a tough stance on so called 'sanctuary cities' Chief Morris doesn't anticipate he will need more funding.
Police Chief Johnny Morris says that giving officers across the state of Texas the right to question detained people about their immigration status is not that different than the standard procedures they have in place now. In that case he does not see the need to up security measures in our local police departments.
The bill now heads to the senate and Governor Perry is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to put his signature on it.