Chron picks up on HPOU sanctuary-directive criticism

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Last month, various blogs noted that Houston Police Officers’ Union president Gary Blankinship had pointedly urged Mayor White to scrap General Order No. 500-5, the city’s sanctuary directive.

James Pinkerton has a lengthy story on that bit of “olds” in today’s Chronicle.

When putting together a story like this, a certain type of comment always has to run:

Houston Assistant Police Chief Dan Perales, said the necessity of combating crime in immigrant communities prompted the implementation of General Order 500-5 in 1992. That need has not changed, he said.

“We want to make sure that individuals do come forward to report crimes” without fear of arrest or deportation, Perales said.

If that’s true — and we’re not saying it is or is not — then wouldn’t a public debate over the 17-year-old sanctuary directive (put in effect by an unelected police chief) only serve to legitimize it? So why not have that debate, and invite in experts for testimony?

Those questions are not explored in the story.

UPDATE (05-12-09): Charles Kuffner also comes a little late to this topic, with this observation/query:

I really don’t know why it is that the Houston Police Officers Union has decided it wants HPD to be different from every other urban police force in the state and start questioning residents about their immigration status.

Really? Okay, we’ll take a stab at it — maybe Blankinship is tired of attending funerals of fellow cops killed by illegal immigrants, and honestly thinks that a less accommodating stance by HPD on illegal immigrants might reduce the number of those funerals he has to attend?

But Blankinship doesn’t run a Dem Party politics blog like Kuffner, so he may not understand this policing stuff as well. Fine. Let’s have a public discussion at Council, invite in immigration and law-enforcement experts, and sort it out. Why is that so scary to Mayor White?

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