The Texas House of Representatives passed legislation late Monday targeting cities that assist undocumented immigrants, just hours before President Obama delivered a speech in El Paso advocating the DREAM Act and mocking the GOP’s stance on immigration. The Texas law would prohibit local governments from restricting police officers asking the immigration status of people taken into custody, and is reminiscent of Arizona’s SB 1040.
Obama is reviving the immigration debate, hoping to assuage disappointed supporters who watched the DREAM Act die in the Senate in December. He talked up border security in his speech Tuesday in Texas, saying the GOP “will never be satisfied” with his work to increase safety. Both sides seem to agree that Obama’s speech changes little, given that he’s working with a split Congress with little appetite for getting back into the reform debate. Beyond that, progressive critics say that by refusing to curtail work site audits and deportations of undocumented immigrants, Obama is showing his true colors on the issue. —KDG
The Texas House of Representatives late on Monday approved a measure that seeks to crack down on cities that provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants.
The measure would prohibit local governments from banning law enforcement officers asking about the immigration status of people who are lawfully detained or arrested. Republican Governor Rick Perry designated the measure as one of his emergency priorities for the legislative session.
“It simply prevents cities from telling officers to turn a blind eye to violators of federal law,” said the bill’s author, Republican Burt Solomons.
In a speech that had all the hallmarks of a campaign—the hand shaking, the outdoor event, chants of “Yes, we can”—President Obama sought to build a “movement” around comprehensive immigration reform.
“We need Washington to know that there is a movement for reform gathering strength from coast to coast,” Obama said here steps from the U.S.-Mexico border. “That’s how we’ll get this done.”
The president, however—in his first trip here to the border since taking office—did not offer any new details on what he would like to see in an immigration-reform bill, nor did he press a timeline.
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A fence divides the border between the U.S. and Mexico.