Texas Lawmaker on a Hunger Strike to Protest Anti-Sanctuary City Bill

Senate Bill 4 will go up for debate tomorrow in the House.

The bill would also allow the State of Texas to cut funding to institutions that don't comply with the law.

The bill would ban cities, counties and universities from preventing local law enforcement agencies from asking about a person's immigration status or enforcing immigration law.

But Neave, who represents parts of Dallas, Mesquite and Garland, said she doesn't accept the argument that sanctuary cities unfairly protect undocumented immigrants, some who may commit more unsafe crimes.

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The bill's supporters say it would help promote consistency across local law enforcement agencies and prevent jailed undocumented immigrants from being released. Dozens of Texans are joining her with prayer or fasting, hoping to "soften the hearts" of state lawmakers planning on voting for the bill, she said.

"I've had teachers come to my office and say their students are afraid of what's going to happen to them if their parents are deported", she added.

Earlier this month, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said his department found the number of Hispanics reporting rape is down 42.8 percent from past year, and those reporting other violent crimes has registered a 13 percent drop.

Neave, inspired by the hunger strikes of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, said "it's a form of personal sacrifice".

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Rep. Neave told the Dallas Morning News that fear is already heightened in immigrant communities, regardless of their immigration status, with more than 1,000 residents recently packing a high school cafeteria for an immigration forum. He ended up opening his own TV/VCR fix shop in Mesquite, and helped Neave attend college and become a lawyer.

Neave, whose father entered the country illegally but is now a USA citizen, takes the proposal personally.

While response has been positive, she added, there have been some negative comments on social media and even death threats - but those haven't broken her fast.

"I feel fine. I feel healthy, and I'm going to pray", said Neave. "And so for me, that was doing it spiritually".

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