KHOU-11's Doug Miller reports on a proposal by Councilmember Mark Ellis to allow HPD to stop ignoring violations of federal immigration law:
It stems from HPD's version of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding illegal immigrants.
But one city council member wants police to start asking some simple, but pointed questions.
And that's raising some tough questions about what Houston police should do about enforcing immigration laws.
A longstanding policy forbids Houston cops from asking people whether they're illegal immigrants.
Now a city council member wants that policy changed.
"We've had some rapists here in the city of Houston that were illegal immigrants," says City Council Member Mark Ellis. "We know that some of the terrorists that attacked New York back on September 11, 2001, we know that they were illegal immigrants. And so, when do we say, Enough is enough?"Houston's police chief believes the policy makes the city safer, because it lets undocumented workers talk freely with police about serious crimes. And Houston's mayor agrees.
"I want the police out there stopping crime, catching criminals, locking them up in jail," says Mayor White. "And I want to devote all the resources to the police on that, not to do the job of the INS."
First of all, we know that's just MayorWhiteChiefHurtt spinning himself dizzy, since the highest-profile effort of the administration to stop crime and catch criminals has been devoting police overtime resources to harass downtown pedestrians as part of the great downtown jaywalking revenue stream.
MayorWhiteChiefHurtt should be more honest and simply state that he believes he has the authority to choose which federal laws HPD will enforce, or ignore.
Further, there is this bit of filler from a local professor:
One political analyst notes the term-limited council member is thinking about running for higher office.
"It's Mark Ellis running for senate or something else," says Jon Taylor of University of St. Thomas. "It's politics. I hate to say it, but that's what it is."
I hate to criticize such a devout Sooner fan, but that really doesn't address the advantages or disadvantages of the proposal by Councilmember Ellis. Is it good policy, or not?
On a related note, Kris Axtman has a piece for today's Christian Science Monitor on the dangers of our porous southern border, and the story even carries a Houston byline. Inexplicably, Axtman did not include exhortations from Mayor White and/or Chief Hurtt that they are much too busy harassing downtown pedestrians to worry about trivial matters like dangerous illegal immigrants.
UPDATE: This looks to be the hot topic on the Chris Baker program today, on KTRH-740.