Harsh immigration enforcement bills have been passed in the Texas House. These bills will go to the Senate and then to Governor Abbott.
From the Houston Chronicle:
"Texas House Republicans passed a bill that would allow police officers anywhere in the state to remove migrants who lack legal immigration status, with stiff penalties for those who refuse to leave....Under the bill, officers would be able to charge anyone who unlawfully enters or tries to enter Texas from Mexico with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. In lieu of arrest, police could opt to drop migrants off at ports of entry and order their return back across the border. Those who refuse could be charged with a second-degree felony and face up to 20 years in prison....Democrats say Spiller’s bill would sow widespread distrust between law enforcement and people of color, lead to racial profiling and perhaps even cause the errant removal of citizens who happened to leave their proof of ID at home."
Here in Houston, this legislation will be enforced in part by Greg Abbott's Texas Department of Public Safety troopers if John Whitmire is elected Mayor. Senator Whitmire intends to invite 200 DPS troops to police Houston. DPS troops conducting city police work in Austin earlier this year arrested an outsized share of Latinos for minor offenses.
This legislation passed in the Texas House is what made State Rep. Armando Walle of Houston so mad in a widely shared video recording.
Rep. Walle has endorsed Senator Whitmire for Mayor of Houston. I'm not aware of a statement from the Senator backing up Rep. Walle on a matter that caused him to say this to Republican House colleagues:
“It hurts us to our fucking core”...And you don’t understand that, you don't live in our skin. And that’s what pisses me off.”
John Whitmire hasn't tried or is not able to mitigate what Republicans are doing. Senator Whitmire says his relationships with anti-democratic and authoritarian Republicans will benefit Houston. But he seems powerless to exert influence on Texas legislative Republicans as they do one lousy thing after another.
At the moment, it appears Rep. Walle's support of Senator Whitmire for Mayor will be of assistance to Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Texas legislative Republicans as they work to enable police to turn traffic stops into deportations.
(Here is a link to Senator Whitmire's endorsement page on his website to see which elected officials are supporting the Senator.)
The Houston Democracy Project works daily to make democracy an issue in 2023 Houston politics and to inspire, organize and strengthen pro-democracy coalitions in Houston and Harris County. The Project will continue through 2024.
Here are the Project's 2023 Houston election recommendations.
Please share word of the Houston Democracy Project and support the effort with your contribution. If you have a question about the Project or a suggestion, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm Neil Aquino