Visualizing Days of Lege Debate: Immigration

The “sanctuary cities” bill that failed to pass in the special session stirred some of the most contentious debates of the session. Not all immigration-related bills died. Lawmakers finally passed a voter ID bill, despite failed attempts in previous legislative years. Explore this interactive to pinpoint the days lawmakers debated issues related to immigration. An overview of the "Visualizing Days of Debate" series can be found here with a brief tutorial on how to interpret the graphs.

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Highlights from the House

March 23, 2011

"My multicultural long table is a bipartisan group of individuals made of nationalized citizens and first generation Texans with roots in Mexico, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korean, Pakistan, India, Philippines, Turkey, and many other regions. The entire group wanted a more secure voting method in place and strongly supported the voter ID bill. These are people who work hard to become citizens and to earn the right to vote," — Rep. Angie Chen Button, R-Richardson

May 6, 2011Point of Order Derails Sanctuary Cities Bill — For Now

"All of us deny ever having any policy -- ever having anything to do with any sanctuary type policy. The legislation does create a uniformed standard across the state when it comes to inquiring about immigration status. Put it simply: Immigration cases within the state should have the ability to ask about immigration if they see it as necessary to investigating a crime. Peace officers at school are no exceptions," — Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton

May 10, 2011Sanctuary Cities Causes Rift Within Texas GOP

"And as I mentioned time and time again, any time someone is booked and arrested, their immigration status is inquired upon and if that person is illegally here in the United States, then ICE is immediately called. So we have a very good working relationship, as many other cities across our state. It has been said that the need for HB 12 is so that we have some consistency. Well, if we already have almost every city in Texas with a secure communities plan, that sounds pretty consistent to me and there's no need for the language that's in HB 12," — Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston

May 12, 2011Voter Bill Draws Familiar Fight

"This bill is a bill which makes a particular offense if a person is not a citizen of the United States and that person votes or attempts to vote in a an election in this state. It also creates an affirmative defense to prosecution, if the person charged believes, in good faith, that that person was a citizen of the United States," — Rep. Tyron Lewis, R-Odessa

May 16, 2011

"I think that it's somewhat ironic that in this time of budget uncertainty and budget shortfalls that we're creating the need through this voter ID program to provide for more free IDs for people who don't have them, all in the name of solving a problem that may or may not exist," — Rep. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio

Highlights from the Senate

January 26, 2011Texas Lawmakers File Far-Ranging Immigrant Bills

"I understand there's a political divide — I understand that there is a political divide over the voter ID law, but I don't think there is a political divide over making certain that we provide the necessary funds to public education in the state of Texas. And so when you decide on this particular vote, you need to decide whether or not voter ID, funding voter ID has a higher priority than funding of our public schools," — Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas

April 26, 2011

"SCR36 resolves that the Texas congressional delegation provided our legislature with a cost analysis of the exact funding necessary for the full enforcement of immigration laws in Texas and the status of that funding and it also resolves that the lieutenant governor and speaker send a delegation of both chambers to Washington to meet with members of Congress and the executive branch to discuss border security issues," — Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands

June 14, 2011Sanctuary Cities Bill Clears Texas Senate

"In El Paso if a crime is committed against an illegal immigrant, the El Paso police department may help that victim obtain a new visa to stay in the country legally during the term of investigation and the trial. Without the ability to inquire into immigration status, the El Paso police department would not be able to assist the victim in this way," — Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands

June 27, 2011

"Senate Bill would authorize the Department of Public Safety to operate southbound checkpoints to our international bridges along the Texas/Mexico border in conjunction with federal authorities. Each year large amounts of guns and cash are illegally smuggled into Mexico fueling violence and criminal activity. Furthermore, this violence fosters in our quiet own communities," — Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville