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Texas Bill Could Allow Criminal Charges Against Police Who Do Not Comply With ICE Detainers, Putting America's Basic Freedoms at Risk. Roger Algase

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The Guardian reports that the Republican-dominated Texas legislature, apparently taking its cue from the Trump administration's harsh policies toward unauthorized immigrants and attempts to cut off funds for Sanctuary Cities, may be about to pass a bill which, according to the newspaper report:

"...puts sheriffs and other police chiefs at rusk of criminal charges and other serious sanctions if they do not help the federal government enforce immigration laws by complying with requests to detain immigrants. There are also civil fines for non-cooperation by local entities including campus police departments."

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2...ain-immigrants

The Guardian also reports that in the face of protests against the bill by Democratic legislators, one of whom began a four day hunger strike, another of whom wept as she described her experience as a sexual assault survivor and warned that the proposed law would help criminals, and a third who described the fear and terror she went through as a young girl in a family of unauthorized immigrants, the Republican legislators reacted as follows:

"...they strengthened the language of the bill to allow law enforcement to ask the immigration status of anyone who is merely detained - for example during a traffic stop - as well as arrested."

Most ominous of all for those who care about traditional American family values and the welfare of children, the Republican majority:

"...refused to pass amendments calling for exemptions for young children at school or people in domestic violence shelters."

All Americans, whether living in Texas or not (and the same article reports that Texas is not the only state considering similar draconian immigration "enforcement" measures) need to think about what it means to live in a country where a state or local government may be able to pass a law so clearly intended to spread panic and dread in Latino and other minority communities, in the same manner that autocratic or totalitarian regimes did to their minority populations in much of the 20th century and are still doing in some places in the world today.

America was founded in order to be a refuge from this type of persecution against unpopular minorities. Will it now become a country that, under color of law, openly engages in such inhumanity in the era of Donald Trump?

And it is not only immigrants who could have reason to worry about the effect of the Trump administration's mass deportation agenda on the basic civil liberties and freedoms that Americans have been taking for granted in a democratic society up to now.

Based on the above news report (as I have not seen the actual text of the Texas bill), American citizens, in this case, state sheriffs and other law enforcement officials, could be at risk of going to prison if they refuse to become participants in this agenda.

When this is combined with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' warning that officials in Sanctuary Cities could be at risk of being prosecuted under INA Section 274 for refusal to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement activities such as sharing or maintaining immigration status information under 8 U.S.C. Section 1373, or honoring ICE detainer requests, it could turn out that American citizens may have as much, or even more, to fear from the new administration's policies as minority immigrants themselves.

These policies may or may not be successful in bringing about the demographic changes in the ethnic makeup of America's population so evidently desired by some of Trump's inner circle of immigration advisers, such as Stephen Bannon. But these policies could result in the loss of freedom for the American people to dissent from or oppose whatever orders relating to immigration the president chooses to issue from the White House.
__________________________________
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world receive work visas and green cards.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com




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Updated 04-28-2017 at 10:58 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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