"I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."
During the Regular Session of the 84th Texas Legisature, HB 4117 by Pat Fallon would have banned Sanctuary Cities. On March 23rd, Joe Straus referred HB 4117 to Byron Cook's State Affairs Committee. It died without a hearing.
But now there's an election coming up and Byron Cook has to pretend to care about illegal immigration.
This afternoon, Cook's committee held an interim hearing on the following charge:
Examine state and local laws applicable to undocumented immigrants throughout the State of Texas and analyze the effects of those laws in conjunction with federal immigration laws and the policies and practices followed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.We caught the second half of the hearing. Little of substance was accomplished. The most interesting thing we learned is that the turf wars between local and federal officials we lamented over a year ago continue. Rural sheriffs pleaded for help while some dude from Houston attempted to give the committee political cover on the issue. To be honest, we spent more time playing on our cell phone than taking notes.
Speaking of our cell phone, it featured prominently in the most entertaining vignette of the afternoon. This being Byron Cook's committee, filming and taking pictures by anyone who isn't 'credentialed media' is prohibited. While that's completely unconstitutional, we weren't in the mood for a discussion over the finer points of the first amendment. Nonetheless, during a fascinating text message conversation we were having with another member of the Texas House about the open seat on the Texas Railroad commission, the Texas House's Sargent at Arms felt so threatened by the possibility of us using our first amendment right that he scolded us not to take pictures. That being said, someone really should sue the Texas House on this issue.
Bottom Line: If the Republican 'leadership' of the Texas House of Representatives had any interest in addressing sanctuary cities, they had ample opportunity to do so during the regular session. They did nothing. Today's hearing was about posturing for the upcoming election and nothing else.