Texas Democrats unite to fight 'sanctuary cities' bill

AUSTIN -- The Texas Senate's 12 Democrats formed a united front against a revived "sanctuary cities" bill Monday as Hispanic leaders argued that it would lead to racial profiling and undercut relations between law enforcement and Latino communities.

Several Hispanic residents from Tarrant County drove to Austin to participate in a rally on the south grounds of the Capitol after the bill appeared to regain renewed momentum over the weekend.

The Rev. Stephen Jasso, pastor of the All Saints Catholic Church in Fort Worth, said the measure would "hurt and endanger" Latino communities.

The bill, SB12, is one of Gov. Rick Perry's top legislative priorities and would allow local law enforcement officers to inquire about immigration status when making arrests. Perry has aimed the measure at so-called sanctuary cities that critics say are havens for illegal immigrants.

But as the Legislature entered its final full week, opponents escalated their attacks on the House-passed bill and said they hope to stop it if it comes up on the Senate floor before the May 30 adjournment.

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