AMARILLO, TX - Governor Rick Perry has sworn to ban sanctuary cities throughout Texas. If the 'Sanctuary Cities' bill is approved, the legislation would bar local governments from preventing law enforcement officers from inquiring about the immigration status of people they detain.
As it stands, local police officers do not actively seek to inquire about someone's immigration status. However, with the likely passage of this bill they will be allowed to ask anyone they detain whether they are in the country legally.
The bill did not pass the senate during the regular session because democrats did not allow a two thirds majority to be reached. However, the two thirds rule is not in place for this special session giving the measure a greater chance of being approved.
Amarillo is not considered a sanctuary city but officers do need probable cause in order to ask about someone's immigration status.
"If we come across a car load of illegal immigrants we're going to call border patrol just like we normally do and we're going to continue to do that. We'll still enforce whatever we have out there that's enforceable" said Potter County Sheriff, Brian Thomas.
Currently all of the Texas Panhandle counties rely on a system called Secure Communities in order detect the immigration status of people they arrest. Supports of the 'Sanctuary Cities' bill say banning sanctuary cities would be yet another tool for law enforcement officials but opponents say the bill encourages racial profiling.