SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police Chief William McManus did not hold back his disappointment Thursday after the Texas House passed of the so-called sanctuary cities bill.
He said Senate Bill 4 is causing concern in the law enforcement community.
“We are very, very fearful, that the community will no longer cooperate with us, because of this bill,” he said. “There is not one thing in this bill that I consider to be positive, nor do my colleagues consider to be positive.”
McManus said he is worried the bill will discourage immigrant communities from reporting crime, and will allow for racial profiling.
He also said he spoke with several other police chief’s from across the Lone Star State, who all shared his concerns.
“We don’t have any real hope that there will be any real change, we are stuck with it,” McManus said.
He also said the bill will require the whole department to be trained on immigration law, and he believes it will take away from their primary mission -- answering calls of service.
Currently, the San Antonio Police Department does not ask about immigration status. McManus said “That is going to have to come off the books.”
The chief also said he is confused by lawmakers who are trying to take away what had been his responsibility.
“I don’t understand how the state can all of a sudden take over that part of the chief’s responsibility by disallowing them to come up with rules and regulations that the department abides by,” he said.
SB 4 was passed in the Thursday in the pre-dawn hours, after 16 hours of debating.
The House version allows police to ask any detained person their immigration status -- even at traffic stops.
“The disturbing part of this bill, is that it usurps the police chief from preventing that from happening. It takes away that authority,” McManus said, while commenting on the bills ability for any officer to ask about immigration status.
CONTINUING COVERAGE: Texas legislators seek funding ban for 'sanctuary cities'
The bill also mandates jail time for police and sheriff deputies who don't cooperate with federal immigration laws.
A bipartisan conference committee will negotiate a final version before it goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.
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