State Rep. Victoria Neave is halfway through her four-day fast in protest of an anti-sanctuary cities bill set for debate Wednesday in the Texas House of Representatives.
The bill would ban cities, counties and universities from adopting “sanctuary” policies. It would also allow law enforcement agencies to ask anyone about their immigration status.
As the daughter of an immigrant, Rep. Neave said fighting the bill is a personal and spiritual journey. She has heard anxious and fearful concerns from the families in her district.
“We had more than 1,200 people pack a cafeteria in North Mesquite High School, and I saw the fear in their eyes," Neave told NBC DFW. "I’m hearing from teachers in our district who are talking to us. Their second grade students are afraid of what is going to happen to them if their parents are deported.”
Neave also fears the bill would have a negative effect on law enforcement.
“Individuals are not going to want to testify in court about a crime if they are worried that their immigration status is going to be checked," she said. "We want to encourage community policing efforts, and this will have a detrimental effect on this efforts here in our state."
The bill is up for debate on Wednesday in Austin. Neave said she doesn't think lawmakers have the votes to defeat the legislation.
"My fear is that it will pass, but I am fasting and praying and hoping the hearts of other lawmakers will be soften to vote against this bill as well," she said.