Texas House OKs ‘sanctuary city’ ban with tough jail penalty

Texas House OKs 'sanctuary city' ban with tough jail penalty_336099

Texas Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, at podium, is surrounded by fellow lawmakers as he speaks against an anti-“sanctuary cities” bill that has already cleared the Texas Senate and seeks to jail sheriffs and other officials who refuse to help enforce federal immigration law, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The Texas House has approved a strict ban on “sanctuary cities” in the country’s second-largest state, seeking to empower police to enforce federal immigration law against anyone they detain and threatening to jail police chiefs and sheriffs who refuse to do so.

Thursday’s 93-54 vote followed 15-plus hours of emotional debate, much of it from outnumbered Democrats powerless to stop the bill.

Under it, the state could withhold funding from local governments for acting as sanctuary cities, even as the Trump administration’s efforts to do so nationally have hit roadblocks.

Other Republican-controlled states have pushed for similar polices in recent years. But Texas would be the first where police chiefs and sheriffs could be jailed for not helping enforce immigration law.

Texas’ state Senate previously passed a similar bill.

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