Thursday, March 19, 2009

Facts are stubborn things: Texas AG Opinion on "Sanctuary Cities"

President John Adams allegedly said, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

Passions get stirred up when people think about the so-called "sanctuary cities." In response to this letter from Texas Representative Frank J. Corte, Jr., Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued this official Opinion on "local government policies that hinder enforcement of federal immigration laws." In this opinion, Attorney General Abbott concluded that the:

Texas Legislature is not prohibited from adopting some form of legislation designed to compel local governments to comply with any duties they may have under federal immigration laws, so long as such legislation is not inconsistent with federal law.

I do not quibble with the legal conclusion. Rather, I want to stress this opinion does not require local governments to report illegal aliens. Rather it simply recites a correct statement of law. Federal law prohibits states, counties, and cities from restricting their employees from relaying information about someone’s immigration status to the proper federal authorities. The Texas Legislature can also pass legislation to compel local governments to comply with any existing duties they have under federal immigration laws. The Opinion should not be read to create or impose any new duties to report some one's immigration status. For a more in depth discussion about the so-called "sanctuary city", click here.

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