Houston's largest police union, citing the death of six officers during Mayor Bill White's tenure, have asked the mayor and City Council to hire more officers, restore $14 million in overtime pay, and overturn the long-standing policy of not questioning residents about their immigration status, the Houston Chronicle reports. Union president Gary Blankinship called last week's slaying of veteran officer Henry Canales a “trifeca failure” of federal, state, and city government to protect citizens and police officers from criminal illegal immigrants.
White said there would be no change in the department's policy on illegal immigrants. Adding four new cadet classes as the union wants would cost the city $20 million, requiring an increase in property taxes or a wide-ranging curtailment of city services that would require laying off 500 civilian employees, he said. The union asked White to drop the 1993 order prohibiting Houston police from questioning residents about their immigration status, or reporting them to immigration agents. White countered that police are inquiring about the immigration status of those arrested and booked into jail, and are seeking more access to federal immigration databases.