Rep. Anchia to expose ‘sanctuary industries’ in immigration fight

Sen. Raphael Anchia outside the law office where he works in Downtown Dallas. This will be Anchia’s seventh session to serve in the Texas Legislature. (Photo by Danny Fulgencio)
Photo of Rafael Anchia by Photo by Danny Fulgencio

State Rep. Rafael Anchia coined a new political term on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives this week.

Anchia, a Democrat whose district includes part of Oak Cliff, pushed back against a bill that would punish so-called “sanctuary cities,” where refugees and immigrants are welcome. During a “six-minute tirade on the House floor,” he threatened to expose the “sanctuary industries” that habitually hire undocumented immigrants.

According to the Texas Tribune, he said:

If this is how the session’s going to go, and you guys want to talk about ‘illegals’ and you guys want to talk about immigrants and you guys want to talk about sanctuary cities, well, we’re going to start talking about sanctuary industries.

The Tribune notes that exposing the industries that rely on immigrant labor is a tactic previously employed by far-right Republicans.

Anchia, chair of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus, said he’s bringing it up as a challenge to those industries to stand up against anti-immigrant legislation.

From the Tribune:

According to a recent analysis by the Pew Research Center, Texas’ 1.1 million unauthorized immigrant workers made up 8.5 percent of the state’s total labor force, concentrated in industries like agriculture, hospitality and especially construction.

The Texas Senate in February approved a bill that would punish local government entities and colleges that refuse to cooperate with immigration officials or enforce immigration laws. A similar bill currently is in the Texas House. Gov. Greg Abbott has declared “sanctuary cities” one of four emergencies to address during this legislative session.

When “sanctuary cities” came up in the 2011 legislative session, industry leaders stepped forward to prevent it. But Anchia says that isn’t happening this time around.


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