A Texas Lawmaker Has Gone A Hunger Strike To Protest A State Bill Targeting Sanctuary Cities

The first months of the Trump administration have seen a sharp rise in immigration arrests by ICE, with more than double the number of arrests of non-criminal undocumented immigrants than in either 2015 or 2016 — including a domestic violence victim attempting to get a restraining order against her abuser, who may have been the one to tip off ICE. On top of considering targeting undocumented immigrants who receive public assistance and chronicling immigrant crime, the administration has floated a number of plans to strip sanctuary cities of funding (or more), which has resulted in a number of lawsuits against the administration. Anti- and pro-immigration battles are happening at the local level, as well, including in Texas, where one state lawmaker is in the midst of a hunger strike in protest of a pending sanctuary cities bill.

Victoria Neave, a Democrat state rep. who represents parts of Dallas and its surrounding suburbs, began fasting Sunday and is planning to continue until Wednesday when the Texas House begins to debate a sanctuary cities bill that “would ban cities, counties and universities from adopting ‘sanctuary’ policies that prevent local law enforcement agencies from asking about a person’s immigration status or enforcing immigration law,” reports the Dallas Morning News. Under the new bill, police will be able to ask about immigration status after an arrest has been made. The bill would further charge local law enforcement with a misdemeanor if they refused to cooperate with federal officials, arguably the best way to support our law enforcement officers.

“I want people to know how terrible this law is,” Neave told the paper.

The bills supporters say the it will prevent undocumented criminals from being released from jail and continuing their criminals acts. Neave and fellow critics say it’ll actually silence undocumented immigrants who are the victims of crime and will be hesitant to testify or even report crimes in the first place due to fear of being deported.

The bill has been softened slightly in the Texas House, but Neave doesn’t sound optimistic about preventing it’s passing, telling the Morning News, “At this point, we’re hoping for a miracle.”

(Via Dallas Morning News)