Sen. Charles Perry defends SB 4 'Sanctuary Cities' bill - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Sen. Charles Perry defends SB 4 'Sanctuary Cities' bill

Protesters outside of the Capitol in Austin Wednesday (source: KXAN video) Protesters outside of the Capitol in Austin Wednesday (source: KXAN video)

Emotions are running high at the state capitol in Austin, as the Texas House debates Senate Bill 4, otherwise known as the Sanctuary Cities bill, on Wednesday.

Our district's senator, Charles Perry, authored the bill.

Senate Bill 4 passed in the state Senate in February.

The bill would ban cities, counties and universities from adopting sanctuary policies and would penalize law enforcement officials who fail to enforce federal immigration guidelines.

Now that the legislation is in the state House, where lawmakers have made some changes to it.

But that didn't stop several groups who gathered outside of the capitol in Austin to protest, some calling it 'disastrous'.

According to NBC, some lawmakers are even participating in a hunger strike in opposition.

Representative Roland Gutierrez of District 119 spoke out against the bill on Wednesday afternoon.

"We can't have a relinquishment of local control. I want you to do something else. I want you to listen to that noise. You hear it? You hear that noise? It's the sucking sound of government. Big government, and it's here in Senate Bill 4," Rep. Gutierrez said.

SB 4 author Senator Charles Perry calls this a 'very strong' bill.

Senator Perry says this bill isn't creating new immigration laws, but is simply telling local jurisdictions to obey the current federal immigration laws.

Senator Perry says he is happy for all voices to be heard to make the bill the best it can be. He says he hopes people can separate the immigration issue from the bill.

"When you put our communities in harm's way by releasing detainees in this case, in this example of our immigration system, criminal aliens that have committed heinous crimes based on a jurisdictional by jurisdictional interpretation of what is and isn't enforceable, you are not doing your job as an elected official to uphold safety of the communities," Senator Perry said.

Senator Perry says this bill has to go through a few more votes, but he says he is encouraged it could hit the governor's desk as early as the end of next week.

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