The debate over immigration is heating up in border states like Texas and Arizona, which are considering bills to ban cities from enacting "sanctuary policies" that discourage local police from enforcing federal immigration laws.
Witnesses testified Wednesday before a Texas Senate committee for a bill aimed at "sanctuary cities" like Austin and Houston that tell police officers to avoid determining the immigration status of those they deal with, the Houston Chronicle reported.
One witness, Clay Laird, had to be ousted from the hearing after telling lawmakers they "would hear from him" if they didn't vote for the bill, adding that the comment was "promise written in blood," the Chronicle reported.
Laird had testified earlier that his elderly mother was raped and killed more than 20 years ago by a former Texas inmate freed by court order because Texas prisons were overcrowded.
The Texas hearing came a day after the Arizona House tentatively approved a similar measure to prevent cities and towns from having policies that hinder enforcement of federal immigration law, according to AZ Central.com.
Lawmakers passed a House bill on a voice vote, and were due to give it final consideration as early as Wednesday before advancing it to the Senate, the Web site reported.