The Texas House of Representatives has given final approval to a measure that would crack down on cities that provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants, according to published reports.
The law would allow police officers to ask about the immigration status of people who are lawfully detained or arrested in the state. It would also set punishments for law enforcement departments that attempt to restrict such questioning.
The legislation was written by Representative Burt Solomon and passed 100 to 47 in the largely Republican House. According to the Dallas Morning News, Democrats argue that the bill would lead to racial profiling and force police to take on the role of federal immigration agents.
“The people I represent are not criminals. They’re people,” said Representative Rafael Anchia, urging the House to vote against the law, reported the newspaper.
President Barack Obama is touring Texas this week speaking about immigration reform. At a speech near the border in El Paso, news outlets report that on Tuesday Obama called on Congress to pass reform legislation, including the DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for college students and others who were brought to the U.S. as children.