The State of Texas: Hundreds Testify Against State Bill Targeting Sanctuary Cities
Plus: Art Briles is accused of covering up player misconduct at Baylor, a Houston high school has deals with the fallout from Nazi salutes, and Bee Cave Bob says we can expect an early spring.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“If you are a victim of a crime, we don’t care about your immigration status—you have the same rights as anyone else who lives in Fort Worth. We are going to defend you. We are going to protect you.”
—Fort Worth police officer Daniel Segura on Facebook, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Segura posted the video in an effort reassure Fort Worth’s undocumented immigrants on Wednesday and it quickly went viral, garnering more than 800,000 views by Thursday afternoon.
About 600 Texans came to the Capitol on Thursday to testify against Senate Bill 4, a piece of legislation targeting sanctuary cities and other local governments that have policies friendly to undocumented immigrants. The Senate State Affairs Committee hearing lasted sixteen hours, as Texan after Texan took their turn to testify against the bill. They represented a wide cross-section of folks, including, according the Austin American-Statesman: “A young woman who attempted suicide after her father was deported. An unauthorized immigrant who has lived in Dallas for 17 years and owns a small business. Police chiefs who say they depend on strong relationships with immigrant communities to solve crimes. A nurse whose patients are largely immigrants. The Catholic bishop for Austin.” As the Texas Observer notes, the line of speakers was so long that it was wrapped two times around the second-floor rotunda before the hearing began at 8:30 in the morning, and the hearing was disrupted several times by protesters who unfurled banners opposing the bill and sang the refrain, “Which side are you on, my people, which side are you on?” But their words and actions of protest were of no avail. At 12:45 a.m., the State Affairs Committee approved the bill, voting 7-2 along party lines to send SB4 to the full Senate next week. If the bill passes, it would allow Texas to withhold state grant funds from local governments that fail to honor detainer requests from federal immigration authorities, according to the Texas Tribune. The hearing came as tensions between Governor Greg Abbott and Texas’s sanctuary localities have reached at an all-time high. Just the day before, Abbott announced he’d be withholding more than $1 million in state grants from Travis County, penalizing the sheriff for what he perceives is a sanctuary policy.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Bad News Bears
Several Baylor officials, including the interim president and a handful of regents, made new allegations against former football coach Art Briles, according to the Dallas Morning News. In a 54-page filing (you can read it here), which was a response to a lawsuit against the school by a former staffer, there are accusations that Briles and other athletics officials attempted to cover up player misconduct. In one instance, after a freshman defensive tackle was cited for illegal consumption of alcohol, Briles wrote in a text to an assistant coach, “Hopefully he’s under the radar enough they won’t mention his name—did he get ticket from Baylor police or Waco? Just trying to keep him away from our judicial affairs folks.” After a player was arrested for assault and threatening to kill a someone, the filing alleges a football staffer tried to talk the victim out of pressing charges, while Briles texted then-athletic director Ian McCaw that “Waco PD… said they were going to keep it quiet,” to which McCaw responded, “That would be great if they kept it quiet!” And after a masseuse asked the team to discipline a player who reportedly exposed himself and asked for favors during a massage, Briles’ first response was allegedly, “What kind of discipline… She a stripper?” The day before these allegations were filed, Briles dropped his libel lawsuit against Baylor.
A whole bunch of students at Cypress Ranch High School, near Houston, were photographed giving what appears to be the Nazi salute during a senior class picture taken on Tuesday, according to KPRC. A student told the news station that some of the seventy students participating in the Nazi salute also shouted “Heil Hitler” and “Heil Trump.” Photos clearly show a group of students with their arms raised, Nazi-salute style. In a letter sent home to parents immediately after the incident, the principal said the school is “currently conducting an investigation” and that “those implicated will be punished according to the Student Code of Conduct.” “Most people may think it was just kids just joking around but in the current political climate and the fact these kids are seniors in high school, it’s beyond unacceptable,” the letter said. Meanwhile, students are understandably upset. “It was pretty terrifying,” one student told KPRC.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
No one knows why so many students and teachers at this Arlington school are falling ill WFAA
An inside look at what it was like for a Syrian family detained at DFW Dallas Observer
Cowboys wrangled a bull on the streets of downtown Weatherford after it escaped from the butcher Weatherford Democrat
A bunch of headstones were unexpectedly removed from a Houston cemetery Houston Chronicle
Students at an Austin high school used a 3-D printer to make a prosthetic limb for a classmate KXAN