Texas Bill Compels Campus Police to Act on Immigration Matters

The Texas Senate approved a bill earlier this month that would compel state government officials, local government leaders, and campus law enforcement officers to cooperate in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, reported Inside Higher Ed. The proposal comes at a time when higher education institutions face increasingly difficult questions of how they will handle the growing emphasis on immigration law under the Trump administration's hard-line stances.

The measure, which awaits consideration in the Texas House of Representatives, would withhold state grant money from cities, counties, state criminal justice agencies, and campus police departments that take a soft stance on immigration. Additionally, grant funding could be withheld if those entities prohibit or discourage immigration law enforcement.

Under the proposed legislation, campus police forces would not be able to prevent officers from asking about arrestees' immigration status or keep them from communicating with immigration officials. Campus police would also have to comply if a federal official asked them to hold a person while officials determined whether that person was in the United States without legal authorization. The shift could significantly curtail institutions' ability to avoid helping federal authorities with deportations, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Proponents of the bill argue that it prevents local officials from selectively enforcing the law and undermining its integrity. Senate Bill 4 author, Senator Charles Perry, a Republican from Lubbock, has said it needs to cover colleges and universities amid a push for sanctuary campuses.

"Our legislation is simple -- government entities cannot undermine the rule of law by ignoring our immigration laws," Perry said in a news release. "If colleges and universities intend to follow the example of sanctuary cities, we must ensure that our legislation specifically includes them."

 

Related Links

Inside Higher Ed

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/02/17/texas-bill-could-force-campus-police-play-role-immigration-matters

The Texas Tribune

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/02/07/texas-senate-tentatively-approves-anti-sanctuary-city-legislation/