More on "_Is Houston a sanctuary city_?" (Answer: Yes)

In 1979, the Los Angeles Police Department issued Special Order 40, prohibiting police officers from investigating or arresting illegal immigrants, a policy quite similar to what Houston has today.

in 1985, Chicago became a sanctuary city under Mayor Washington. The policy was then reaffirmed in the late 80s by Mayor Daley.

In 1989, San Francisco's city council as well as some other big cities around the nation passed a resolution calling themselves a "sanctuary city." This is akin to Congress passing a non-binding resolution proclaiming Michael Jackson to be a great American: it has zero legal impact. It is only ceremonial.

In 1992, the Houston Police Department issued General Order 500-5. According to the National Immigration Law Center (a left-leaning, Soros-backed group who approves of policies like these), Houston's policy is as follows:

Establishes that undocumented immigration status on its own does not constitute a matter for local police action, and unlawful entry is not to be treated as an on-going offense occurring in the presence of a local police officer.
- Prohibits police officers from stopping or apprehending individuals solely on the belief that they are in the
country illegally.
- Officers may not make inquiries as to the citizenship status of any person, nor detain or arrest any individual
solely on the belief that they are in the U.S. illegally.
- Police officers are prohibited in participating in INS raids where the primary purpose is the arrest of persons
for their undocumented status.
- Police officers may assist INS agents on criminal matters of mutual concern only when
* they have been requested to do so by INS agents,
* they will be clearly exercising their police powers under Texas state laws, and
* they have obtained authorization from an Assistant Chief prior to participation.
This excerpt was taken from a list of cities with policies similar to Houston's. Most of them have a long history of claiming to be sanctuary cities.


In 1996, Congress passed Section 287(g) which authorized the federal government to perform immigration law enforcement functions, among other things. Bill White chose not to be on the list of jurisdictions who joined Section 287(g).

Rudy Giuliani sued and lost:

In 1996, the Republican Congress outlawed outright city bans on reporting immigration status to federal officials. Giuliani challenged the law in court and lost.

Somewhere in this time period, the Mayor of the Worst-Run Big city in the US, San Francisco's Gavin Newsom, decided to actively try to do anything possible to thwart federal immigration arrests.

In 2005, Bill White opposed Houston City Councilman Mark Ellis' plan

Ellis's resolution would permit police to check the citizenship status of people arrested for Class C misdemeanors, such as traffic violations, and would require such inquiries for anyone involved in more serious crimes. Those found to be in the country illegally would be referred to immigration officials.
Bill White also told the Houston Chronicle that he supported the current policy, because he didn't think the matter was worth the police's time.

Houston is a Sanctuary CityThis graphic is taken from Wikipedia.

With all that in mind, it's not too surprising that the Congressional Research Service named Houston a sanctuary city several times, including in 2006...even after Bill White had been protesting that Houston is not a sanctuary city.

Bill White and Annise Parker claim that Houston is not a sanctuary city, apparently because Houston doesn't actively work against federal immigration policy to the extent that San Francisco does. But of course, the term "sanctuary city" dates back far before Gavin Newsom, and even before San Francisco decided in 1989 to ceremonially make themselves a ceremony city. Houston isn't as extreme a sanctuary city as San Francisco; I don't think anyone will quibble with that.

But the common list provided of sanctuary cities are those jurisdictions that have limits on information that can be obtained or disclosed about a person's immigrations status. Houston has one. Under current policy, Houston is a sanctuary city, even if, perhaps, a more moderate one than San Francisco.

Posted by Evan @ 04/01/10 10:19 PM


Previous Entry | Home | Next Entry


No comments yet

Add Comments

No flames or impolite behavior. HTML will be stripped. URLs will be transformed into hyperlinks.