This summer, a five-member majority of the Fort Worth City Council refused to join every other large Texas city in challenging SB 4. The state’s “sanctuary cities” law that went into effect on Sep 1 requires police at every level to ask people their immigration status if they appear to be suspiciously non-Texan. Still, Mayor Betsy Price reminded everyone that Fort Worth is a compassionate city and won’t be using the law to get away with profiling and racial discrimination.
Chill out, in other words. Everything will be fine.
While everyone was bickering over SB 4, an equally insidious agreement between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and several counties around the state had already gone into effect. In July, ICE officials announced the signing of 18 so-called 287(g) agreements with 18 Texas counties — in a huge expansion of an already existing national program — with Tarrant being the largest. The 287(g) program allows local law enforcement agencies to request to enter into partnerships with ICE to enforce federal immigration rules. The agreements call for a limited number of jail officers to be trained by ICE to interrogate people who have been arrested to ascertain their immigration status. The trainees will also learn how to access the Department of Homeland Security’s database to identify undocumented immigrants and detain them until ICE can pick them up and put them in the deportation pipeline.