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Debate continues over Texas sanctuary cities bill

Sanctuary cities (Credit: MGN Online)

It’s another marathon debate for Texas lawmakers. This time, over the controversial sanctuary cities bill.

More than 500 people signed up to talk with lawmakers directly about the bill on Wednesday. Most of those people are against it.

The committee however, seems to be split.

“SB4 would have a chilling effect on the communication between local law enforcement, documented and undocumented immigrants,” said Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin.

The House State Affairs Committee proposed two amendments to the bill that was passed by the Senate.

“As currently drafted, I am concerned that Senate Bill 4 could limit our ability to address a myriad of safety priorities,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

The bill would require that only officers trained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could arrest people who are in the country illegally. The bill would apply to people who have been arrested and not detained.

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal spoke at Wednesday’s hearing, arguing that the bill could put El Paso County in a difficult position.

“El Paso County is going to be faced with either complying with a new state law or facing a federal lawsuit,” Bernal said.

Bernal said the bill would not make El Paso safer than it already is.

But there could be more amendments to the bill.

“I would like to ask you today and testify against SB4 in hopes that you will understand that it will break apart families,” Nelly Miranda with the Border Network for Human Rights said.

The committee will hold off on a vote until it considers other changes.

The chairman for the House State Affairs Committee said the bill is still a long way from being final.

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