Saturday, February 19, 2011

On cops, taxes, immigration enforcement and Big Government Conservatism

The Governor decried "sanctuary cities" as a statewide emergency and legislators have scurried to file bills forcing local police and sheriffs to more directly confront immigration violations instead of merely identifying illegal immigrants after arrest. Some of them are so extreme the proposals forced the governor to walk back his comments somewhat a few days later. This week, law enforcement interests at the capitol this week rightly pointed out that bills to address this non-problem amount to an unfunded mandate. From Zahira Torres at the El Paso Times:
Texas police chiefs and sheriffs condemned efforts to make them act as de-facto Border Patrol agents, saying that law enforcement, not the Legislature, knows how to keep communities safe.

El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles joined other law enforcement officials from Dallas and Travis counties and the cities of McAllen, San Antonio and Austin on Thursday at the state Capitol. The group denounced Arizona-style legislation, which they say would pull their deputies and officers out of neighborhoods and impose more costs when lawmakers are cutting funding to cope with a budget deficit of up to $27 billion.

They said such legislation could cost taxpayers millions of dollars to house undocumented immigrants in state jails, pay for officer training and fight any lawsuits that may arise. In addition, they said, it would dismantle the trust that law enforcement has established with communities, making people less willing to report crimes.

"If you want to test this, pass it and see how many days it will take you to start crying for 'We need judges, we need prosecutors, we need prison beds, we need local jail space,'" McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said during a meeting with aides for state lawmakers.

More than 40 bills that target undocumented immigrants have been filed in Texas.

Some bills want law enforcement to arrest a person for violating a state criminal trespassing law if police have "probable cause to believe" the person is in the country without legal documentation. Others would deny state money to cities or counties that do not enforce federal immigration laws.

But Wiles said immigration is a federal issue and El Paso taxpayers should not have to take on an undue burden just because the city is on the border.
The Texas Tribune's Julian Aguilar had a related story titled "Will immigration laws silence crime victims?"

Quite a few self-styled conservatives claim to favor requiring local law enforcement to engage in immigration enforcement. (At least, I hear the argument made frequently.) But as a practical matter that's simultaneously a call for a big, fat unfunded mandate and inevitably local tax increases to pay for "judges ... prosecutors ... prisons ... [and] local jail space."

This is Big Government Conservatism of a brand that's antithetical to the conservatism of Goldwater or Reagan, less government and lower taxes, and it's years like this one, with government at all levels struggling to make budgets, when that fundamental contradiction becomes most acute.


Anonymous said...

That's the problems with these idiots down here in Texas. They will promote an ideology with no regard for its effectiveness or its cost. The best example is the death penalty. Another good one is gambling. Texans overwhelmingly support the death penalty, not because it is effective, but because they believe that's what their God wants. Many are against gambling because it is sinful and against God. The former costs 6-20 times more than if prosecutors only sought sentence of life without parole; the latter would bring in (or keep in) hundreds of millions of dollars. But, that's just not what God would want.

This immigration issue is the same. Millionaires living in Plano and Northwest Austin complain about illegal immigrants on one hand -- the ideology -- while the trenches for conduit around their homes, the paint on their walls, and their landscaped yards are a result of cheap, Mexican labor.

Common sense would suggest that these bills are DOA. Then again, Texans don't have much common sense (I've got about twenty statutes I could quote from memory as examples if you need -- lol).

Anonymous said...

The state of Texas has committed itself to a tough on some crimes stance for so long that now the fiddlers bill is due and they want to stop dancing.

Will they cheat the fiddler or just put off paying with cuts to the budget that will eventually cost more than they save?

The state of Texas needs to have a serious discussion on cutting some laws from their imprisonment crimes,,,,,quickly or what ever cuts and services they reduce will end up biting them in the azz.

Anonymous said...

Read HB 1455 at

Anonymous said...

Not sure if the the link posted so here is HB 1455

82R5044 MAW-D

By: Kolkhorst H.B. No. 1455

relating to the release or discharge by a law enforcement agency of certain illegal immigrants at the office of a United States senator or United States representative.
SECTION 1. Chapter 16, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended by adding Article 16.23 to read as follows:
Art. 16.23. RELEASE OR DISCHARGE OF CERTAIN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. (a) In this article, "illegal immigrant" means a person who:
(1) is not a citizen or national of the United States; and
(2) is unlawfully present in the United States according to the terms of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (8 U.S.C. Section 1101 et seq.).
(b) This article applies only to an illegal immigrant who:
(1) is entitled to be released on bail or discharged following the completion of the immigrant's sentence; and
(2) is not subject to an immigration detainer issued by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement prohibiting the person's release or discharge.
(c) A law enforcement agency that has custody of an illegal immigrant to whom this article applies may:
(1) release or discharge the illegal immigrant at the office of a United States senator or United States representative during that office's normal business hours; and
(2) request an agent or employee of the United States senator or United States representative to sign a document acknowledging the release or discharge of the illegal immigrant at the senator's or representative's office.
(d) Subsection (c) does not apply to an illegal immigrant for whom release or discharge at a location described by Subsection (c) is prohibited by a court order or other law.
(e) A law enforcement agency may maintain a record of each illegal immigrant released or discharged from the custody of the agency who is not transferred to the custody of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2011.

Brittanicus said...

By demanding immigration policing laws, Utah has saved itself from further bombardment of economic illegal aliens. By the hundreds and thousands they will leave as they did in the Great State of Arizona, where these people depleted public entitlements. Now they have diverted their attention to Colorado plus other pliable States welfare cash to pillage So if Texas do not author laws such as E-Verify and other harsh enforcement treatments, illegal alien eyes will turn towards--YOUR--State and your welfare handouts, taking away from your own veterans, homeless, single mothers, sick and those living in poverty. Look to the Sanctuary State of California that is still suffering from a $24 Billion dollar treasury loss and still being sacked by illegal alien education, health care, public programs and overcrowded prisons.. Taxpayer can investigate truthful illegal alien welfare costs, population statistics and your chance to fax for free the leadership in Washington at

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Brittanicus - Your comments seem nonsensical since "they" are already here, and to hear the Govrenor tell it, despite our budget woes, Texas' economy is better off than the other states you describe. I think that's to a great extent because Texas is tolerant toward immigrants, legal and otherwise.

As a practical matter, Texas is a "sanctuary state" by Rick Perry's definition. Our numbers of illegal immigrants are still growing and TX DPS has the same policy as Houston, Austin, San Antonio, etc., about not arresting for immigration violations.

Immigration is empirically, unarguably good for the country and state from any historical perspective. At this particular historical juncture, we need more workers here to pay for the baby boomer's Medicare, Social Security, etc., we just need them legal and paying into the system instead of conflating workers and criminals.

Anonymous said...

I promise you that my county does not willingly share in the same "policy" you described, but still has to abide by it because the local ICE office has told our DA not to send any illegals to them! And, it's quite arguable as to whether or not they benefit the state or country. They certainly don't seem to be doing CA any good. When they enacted anti-illegal immigration laws in OK a few years ago and caused thousands of them to flee that state, my OK farm state income tax went DOWN. They don't do anyone's economy any good, because a large part of their earned wages goes south across the border and is not spent here.

They fly under the radar here living anonymously, get free medical care which causes our medical bills to skyrocket, leech our public education budget, and send local money across the border. How does that benefit the state?

Anonymous said...

@ 8:08pm Grits said

"and TX DPS has the same policy as Houston, Austin, San Antonio, etc., about not arresting for immigration violations."

That's because of an old standing Texas attorney general's opinion that says

A Texas peace officer may make a warrantless
arrest of an alien upon probable
cause to believe that an illegal entry
has occurred in the officer's presence,
or if the requirements of article 14.03
or 14.04 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
are satisfied, that the suspect has
committed a felony offense under the immigration
laws. Aliens may be arrested for
violation of State criminal laws on the
same basis as other persons, and State
officers may notify federal officials when
such a person is suspected of being illegally
in the United States and turn the
suspect over to federal officials after
disposition of State criminal charges. A
Texas peace officer may not arrest without
warrant an alien solely upon the suspicionthat he has entered the country illegally.

What makes all these cities "sanctuary cities" is not the fact they do not arrest solely based on someone being in country illegally but more they do not check the legal status of those persons not born in this country when these persons being booked into jail on state charges. Course more than half of Texas counties are now participating in the federal Secure Communities program and are checking residency status thru this program with ICE.

One other note, for years Texas counties have been eligible for refunding costs associated with housing aliens on state charges in county jails. Many counties do not take advantage of this federal program known as SCAAP.

Retired LE

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Retired LE, that's not true, Harris, Travis, all those counties "check the legal status of those persons not born in this country when these persons being booked into jail on state charges." Have for a while.

A Texas PO said...

This idea that undocumented immigrants are leeching off the system seems a bit ridiculous to me. Many of them pay into social security because they purchased (or some purchased for them) a social security number, and they pay rent which is utilized by the property owner to pay property taxes that go to local school districts and state and local taxing entities. They purchase products here and thus pay state and local sales taxes. They contribute to our communities in more helpful and beneficial ways than many citizens. Continuing to label all undocumented immigrants as leeches or criminals is like claiming that all black people are gang-bangers, or all white people are rednecks. Just because a few are doesn't mean they are all that way. But let's continue to replay the past by scapegoating homosexuals and "illegals" the way we used to target blacks, latinos, jews, italians, irish, eastern europeans, and asians. Arresting people for no reason other than they be here illegally will surely lead to greater fiscal strains across this state when local police officers, departments, and municipalities are sued for wrongful incarceration. Currently there are 4 million people living in the US who were born in Puerto Rico who no longer have valid birth certificates. According to these laws, these folks can't prove their citizenship so should they be detained? Why not fix the immigration problem rather than spend more money that we don't have to incarcerate non-threatening people?

Anonymous said...

Your right Grits about Travis and Harris county's. My post said cities, not counties, were not conducting the checks.

Is Houston, Austin and San Antonio now participating in 287G or Secure Communities? The last account I had about Houston was in October 2009 when White was running for the US Senate and the city of Houston decided to not screen for immigration.

HPD was on a short list of a half-dozen agencies that either withdrew from negotiations or did not re-sign agreements with ICE.

Retired LE

Anonymous said...

The politically correct support
law breaking by those who cross the border illegally and they support sanctuary cities. They ignore the kind of culture that exists in Mexico and the gang culture we are encouraging in this country.

Anonymous said...

By encouraging those with the highest birth rates to enter the country illegally, what effect will that have on the U.S. environment?

Planet could be unrecognizable by 2050, experts say

Sun Feb 20, 3:05 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an "unrecognizable" world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday.

The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, "with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia," said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Retired, counties run the jails, so cities CAN'T be the ones to check immigration status following arrest. Only counties can do that, and it's happening through the Secure Communities program that for some reason you claim they don't participate in. That's just incorrect; I honestly don't see your beef unless you're just ill-informed on this one.

As for not participating in 287g (a much different question), again, Texas DPS has the identical policy you're complaining about. So if these are sanctuary cities, by the transitive property, Rick Perry's Texas is a sanctuary state.

Anonymous said...

"Retired, counties run the jails, so cities CAN'T be the ones to check immigration status following arrest." Now Grits, I just plain disagree with you there.

How the 287(g) works is that when a police officer comes across a person who has committed a criminal violation, or is believed to have committed a crime, and is believed to be in the country illegally, the police officer has the authority to interview and place a detainer on the subject for possible deportation.

287(g) and Secure Communities frequently are deployed together, but can be used separately.

Secure Communities is a technology driven program that automatically notifies immigration officials when someone fingerprinted at a jail or prison has an immigration record.

287G would give police officers in Houston, San Antonio and Austin more investigative authority as it relates to immigration matters.

I believe they do not participate in 287G simply because there is no political will to do so, including over at TXDPS.

My last post on this subject. Have a great week Scott.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

9:28, who's going to pay to lock up all the extra folks, and do you really want local police diverted to THAT task? I can't imagine why. What crimes should they stop enforcing so they can investigate immigration violations?

As I said, they're already doing the Secure Communities program at all the large TX jails. Those who are arrested have their status checked. Claiming otherwise to make the "sanctuary city" allegation when DPS does the same thing IMO is demagoguery, both when you do it and when the Governor does.

Charlie O said...

Great post Texas PO. You enumerated every argument I've been making for years to people who claim all illegals pay no taxes are "freeloading." Studies have shown that many pay into SS and never collect. Many also pay federal income taxes (through payroll deduction) and never receive a refund because they don't file. Unfortunately American mostly only believe what they want to believe rather than the truth. Hence the success of Faux News.

eugene wessel said...

I have to say that the governor's actions don't seem so crazy given the state of illegal immigration in AZ. I'm an eb-5 green card holder, and I believe in fair immigration, not open borders.

Anonymous said...

9:28, who's going to pay to lock up all the extra folks, and do you really want local police diverted to THAT task? I can't imagine why. What crimes should they stop enforcing so they can investigate immigration violations?

In our case there would be no diversion of basic law enforcement services. The city police and sheriff's officer here have been doing this quite admirably I might say for the last 11 years. There has been no impediment to basic police and sheriff services. The sheriff's office receives reimbursement from the federal government thorugh the SCAAP program for housing illegal aliens charged with state crimes.

The citizens of this community overwhelmingly applaud these efforts. However, I realize the mores and folkways of each community are different.

Anonymous said...

In a poll released today bu UT and the Texas Tribune, sanctuary cities, where local police don't actively enforce federal immigration laws, are unacceptable to 69 percent of voters. Just 17 percent approve of city governments that choose not to enforce all of those federal laws.

The article went on to say police should carry some of the burden, too, according to 70 percent of those polled. Only 25 percent would oppose requiring law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they suspect of being in the country illegally.