Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Houston mayor singing different tune on immigration as Senate campaign heats up

Has Mayor Bill White flip-flopped on screening county inmates' immigration status? Shortly after HPD Officer Rick Salter was critically wounded after being shot by a non-citizen, Mayor White announced that the City of Houston would take part in an ICE program to identify inmates who were not in the United States legally.

Now, US Senate candidate Bill White says he doesn't think the city should participate in ICE's 287(g) program in which jailers are trained to determine inmates' immigration status. White now says he favors the city participating in ICE's Secure Communities program in which officers would be notified when someone being fingerprinted has an immigration record.

White claims he never wanted to participate in the 287(g) program that would cost the city between $1.5 million and $2 million a year.

The question is, did White change his tune because he doesn't want local law enforcement officers to become de facto immigration agents or because he needs the support of Latin voters in Texas to become the first Democratic senator from Texas since Lloyd Bentsen?

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