By Bob Dane
In the face of Texas’ ban on sanctuary cities, a group of Dallas area churches is issuing photo identification cards to illegal aliens – and local law-enforcement agencies are giving them a pass.
Dallas Area Interfaith says hundreds of cards have been handed out, and thousands more applicants were awaiting their IDs. Dallas, Carrollton, and Farmers Branch police departments said they were accepting the church cards in lieu of a state-issued ID.
The Texas Department of Public Safety lists several forms of valid identification. Church cards are not among them.
FAIR asked the state’s chief law-enforcement officer, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, if church-generated identification cards were valid in light of the state’s anti-sanctuary law. The answer: Unknown.
“To respond with the most legal accuracy, the Office of the Attorney General would need to issue a legal opinion in response to a request from an authorized requestor. We cannot give a legal opinion otherwise,” Paxton spokeswoman Kayleigh Lovvorn replied in an email.
An “authorized requestor” is a public official, according to the Attorney General’s website. So far, there has been no official request.
In any event, the special church dispensations and their acceptance by police appear at odds with state statutes.
Texas’s anti-sanctuary law – Senate Bill 4 – prohibits local government agencies from adopting policies that “materially limit the enforcement of immigration laws.” Though officers with the three North Texas police agencies recognize the church-issued ID cards at traffic stops, driving without a valid driver’s license remains illegal in Texas.
On another front, Paxton is carrying on a federal fight against DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program instigated by President Barack Obama.
Texas and six other states this month refiled a lawsuit against Obama’s executive order granting lawful presence and work permits to some 800,000 illegal aliens. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, does not seek removal of aliens currently covered by DACA, nor does it ask the Trump administration to rescind DACA permits already issued.
“Texas has argued for years that the federal executive branch lacks the power to unilaterally grant unlawfully present aliens lawful presence and work authorization,” Paxton said. “DACA sets a dangerous precedent by giving the executive branch sweeping authority to ignore the laws enacted by Congress and change our nation’s immigration laws to suit a president’s own policy preferences.”