Bill White on Immigration

Last Updated : Oct 18, 2010


Mayor White supports amnesty for illegal aliens. He opposes Arizona's attempts to enforce US laws. Mayor White has been accused of operating Houston as a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. Given the city policy that officers were not allowed to determine a person's status until after they had committed another crime and Mayor White's vocal opposition to programs to counter this practice despite the protests of police unions, Houston was indeed a sanctuary city under Mayor White. Mayor White opposes a wall or a fence between the Texas and Mexico.

Mayor White has also used to 2010 gubernatorial campaign to address the National Council of La Raza (The Race). The NCLR is a group that is devoted to usurping US immigration laws and ensuring that illegal aliens obtain as many US rights as possible. Mayor spoke to La Raza concerning immigration.

As part of the 2010 campaign, Mayor White has proposed a six point plan for border security which is highlighted below:

  • Fund an additional 1000 local law enforcement positions and 250 state troopers using federal grants, state appropriations and additional drug forfeiture dollars. 
  • Obtain all available federal funding to support border security and direct sufficient discretionary funding to border security efforts. 
  • Use state appropriations more effectively.
  • Establish a formal partnership with local and federal law enforcement agencies and other leaders along the border to determine how the state can best assist in promoting safety. 
  • Revamp the Department of Public Safety to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
  • Assist local law enforcement agencies in adopting Secure Communities, a program that ensures that criminals in the U.S. illegally are identified and turned over to federal authorities.  


Opposition to Arizona Law

While answering questions in Kingwood, Texas Mayor White stated that he opposed the Arizona immigration law as not proper for the state and local officials to enforce.

While giving a campaign speech in Lubbock, Mayor White reaffirmed his opposition to the Arizona law stating that those who have violated immigration law are working hard and playing by the rules and stating that the crime level would increase if city and local police enforced valid US law:


Houston as a Sanctuary City

Governor Perry has accused Mayor White of running Houston as a "Sanctuary City" - a city where illegal aliens have been granted sanctuary from immigration laws under a policy that forbids the determination of a person's status in the US.

Mayor White has denied the allegation that Houston was a sanctuary city. However, during Mayor White's time in office, it has been well documented that the city had a standing policy of forbidding the police from determining a person's legal status and only seeking to determine the legality of a person's presence after they have committed a crime. In July of 2009, the Houston's largest Police Officer's union cited the death of six officers killed in the line of duty under Mayor White's watch as evidence that the city needed more officers, more funding, and an end to the long-standing policy of not questioning residents about their immigration status.

The union asked White to order Chief Hurtt to drop the 1993 general order prohibiting Houston police from questioning residents about their immigration status, or reporting them to immigration agents. These request were echoed numerous times through Mayor White's tenure in Houston.

Mayor White responded to the accusations by stating that aliens that have already been arrested for a crime (other than a violation of federal immigration laws) then have their residence statue determined. 

In October of 2009, Mayor White indicated that he did not support a program to train officers to determine citizenship, and stated that he supported determining status only after a person is arrested for committing a crime other than immigration violations.


Southern Shift Debate

When running for the US Senate seat in 2008, Mayor White was asked about the possibility of illegal immigrants participating in a national health care system and whether or not the border wall should be built. Mayor White did not answer the portion of the question about health care, but did refer to people in the US illegally as "undocumented workers" and noted the need to "bring them out of the shadows". He stated that the "work force" here in the US was here to stay.

Bill White also states that as Mayor of Houston, he did not allow cops to enforce immigration law, and he does not support such a measure. He opposes building a wall between Texas and Mexico.


Common Sense Debate

In the Common Sense Debate for the Governor's position in 2010, Mayor White stated that cops in Houston where in fact arresting illegal aliens. He states that enforcing immigration laws is the job of the federal government and they have failed at this task. He states that he opposes using employers to ensure that illegal aliens are not employed.


Campaign Website Statements



[1] Website: The Houston Chronicle Article: Officers, mayor square off over immigration policy Author: James Pinkerton Accessed on: 10/14/2010

[2] Website: The Houston Chronicle Article: Officer union calls for change in immigration rule Author: James Pinkerton Accessed on: 10/14/2010

[3] Website: White steering clear of 287(g) concept Article: Title of Article Author: Suzanne Carroll Accessed on: 10/14/2010

[4] Website: Bill White for Texas Article: White highlights 5 point education plan for national audience Author: Bill White for Texas Accessed on: 10/14/2010

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