Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, predicted that the harsh sanctuary bill will ultimately backfire, as it did in California, where anti-immigrant ballot measures passed in the 1990s led to a "political awakening" for Latinos.
Inside the chambers, those voices were amplified by Democratic lawmakers who stood in solidarity to offer passionate and oftentimes tearful remarks against the so-called "sanctuary cities" bill, legislation that punishes cities and law enforcement officials who do not fully comply with federal immigration policy.
"Officers would start inquiring about the immigration status of every person they come in contact with, or worse, inquire about the immigration status of people based on their appearance", they wrote.
"Our communities will be less safe now to the extent the state ties the hands of local law enforcement, keeping them from using good judgment while attending to their local duties". Many held signs reading, "My faith does not discriminate". It would also allow police to question the immigration status of anyone they stop, including children. One bill up for debate today is Senate Bill 21, which outlines the qualifications, duties and limits of Texas delegates if a convention were called. The Justice Department's first report meant to document the illegal immigrants that sanctuary cities were protecting from deportation was also full of people who had committed minor crimes or had not even been convicted. In a piece for the Dallas News, David Pughes, interim chief of police for Dallas, and Art Acevedo, chief of police for Houston, argued that the legislation would cause distrust between citizens and law enforcement.
After the Senate took its final vote, the Governor tweeted: "I'm getting my signing pen warmed up". Once they were outside the building, though, officers cut the restraints off and left the protesters free to go with orders to show for upcoming court dates - some of which have yet to be scheduled.
"The fee is now so high that it impairs a lot of people's ability to get a license to carry", said Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, author of the House companion bill.
Theriault points to President Donald Trump's Andrew Jackson mix-up over the weekend as an example of the importance of recognizing certain names in US history.
The measure would fine local governments up to $25,500 a day for policies that block immigration enforcement.
Fierce resistance has come from Texas Democrats and immigrants' rights organizations, as well as from some in law enforcement and top business lobbies.
The bill had already passed the House and was approved by the Senate along party lines, 20-11.
The decrease is expected to cost Texas almost $22 million over the life of the 2018-2019 state budget that the Legislature is still devising. The law even applies even to college and university campus police departments.