Republican state Sen. Tommy Williams writes in the Houston Chronicle his anti-sanctuary city legislation allows local and state law enforcement to inquire about citizenship when they stop people for probable cause.
"SB 9 is intended to protect all Texans from illegal criminal and terrorist alien activities -- regardless of the illegal alien's country of origin," Williams said.
Opponents of the measure charge border security has become the buzzword for going after undocumented immigrants.
"Questioning someone in Abilene, Texas, or in the Panhandle who is stopped for going through a stop sign and doesn't have a driver's license has nothing to do with border security," said Barbara Hines, a clinical law professor and co-director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Texas at Austin.
Hines told The El Paso Times the legislation could be a way to indirectly target Hispanics.
Luis Figueroa, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said the proposed Texas law is more ambiguous than laws passed by other states.