Houston's "sanctuary" status (updated)

In Houston the police don’t ask witnesses and complainants for their immigration status. This makes it possible for illegal immigrants to interact with the local police without the fear that they will sic the INS on them. It also helps local police gather information about crimes from a portion of the population who, otherwise, wouldn’t have anything to do with them.

That may soon change.

Petitioners seek citywide vote on ‘sanctuary policy’
Group criticizes HPD practice of officers not asking people about their immigration status

— reported by the Houston Chronicle

A petition drive launched Tuesday seeks a citywide vote on a Houston police policy against asking the immigration status of people officers encounter.

Deriding what they call the city’s “sanctuary policy,” about a dozen members of a group called “Protect Our Citizens” conducted a news conference at City Hall to announce the petition drive for a city charter referendum.


Officials also say changing the policy could erode the trust officers need to solve crimes in immigrant communities.

Police Chief Harold Hurtt and Mayor Bill White support the current policy.

But Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs provided the first signature on the group’s petition, saying, “We do not want a police force that has its hands tied.”

The petition unveiled Tuesday calls for a city charter provision stating that the city “shall not obstruct” law enforcement officers from verifying immigration status or making arrests for immigration violations.


There are serious questions raised from this proposal. In a city that’s already dealing with a massive increase in crime (which is not related to immigration), do we have the resources to further encumber police by asking them to check for green cards?

(Found via NewsWatch: Immigration.)


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Author: Paloma Cruz

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