Texas Governor Abbott Targets Sanctuary Cities

Talk about mean-spirited: Even though Texas doesn’t have any sanctuary cities, state legislators rushed through a bill that would effectively ban them, so the governor could sign it during a Facebook live feed.

Senate Bill 4 strikes out at a crucial component of sanctuary cities by requiring law enforcement in the state to cooperate with federal immigration officials, including asking people for proof of residency and honoring immigration detainers.

Governor Greg Abbott boasted gleefully about the bill, which he claimed was necessary to protect public safety.

The term “sanctuary city” doesn’t actually mean anything legally, but in most parts of the country, cities and counties that have adopted this designation usually do so with ordinances barring local law enforcement from collaborating with federal officials. This may include refusing to honor controversial immigration detainers, unless there’s a compelling public safety issue at stake.

In other words, if an undocumented immigrant gets a speeding ticket, they won’t be caught in an immigration trap, but if someone commits murder, they’ll be treated like any other suspect – with a possible option for deportation if proved guilty.

Refusing to honor most or all immigration detainers and emphasizing that law enforcement wants to work with the local community — not against it — tends to reduce jail overcrowding and increase faith in police.

Or at least, that’s what sanctuary city fans argue.

Proponents claim that by refusing to aggressively pursue questions of immigration, local police encourage victims and witnesses to come forward. Thus, an undocumented immigrant can report a rape without fear, or someone who has information about a burglary can speak out.

Lest you think this is wishful thinking from liberals, it should be noted that many police forces actively support sanctuary cities, including a host of cities that wrote the Texas legislature and the governor, begging them to rethink SB4.

Law enforcement officials who refuse to cooperate with the feds could face penalties including fines, removal from office and even jail time. That’s a tall order for police who may believe that they can do their jobs more effectively by refusing to collaborate with federal officials, on the grounds that community-based policing makes their regions safer.

Some are also concerned about the possible unconstitutionality of federal immigration orders, and have worries about the ethical and legal risks of racial and community profiling.

Only one region in Texas has anything resembling a sanctuary policy. In Travis County, Sheriff Sally Hernandez has indicated that she would be highly selective about which ICE detainers she honored, in the interest of protecting public safety. And the county’s refusal to cooperate with ICE certainly seemed to enrage Governor Abbott.

The state should brace itself for a tempest of litigation. The bill is set to take effect on September 1, and the ACLU of Texas, for one, has no intention of taking it lying down. In a blistering letter, the organization’s executive director, Terri Burke, said: “This is not the Texas I know.

Immigration matters like this are hitting the court in large numbers – thanks in large part to the Trump administration – and the resulting body of caselaw could have huge implications for the country’s future.

Photo credit: Annette Bernhardt

53 comments

Marie W
Marie W4 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE4 months ago

I do not understand why there are so many undocumented people who wish to have all the advantages of the documented.

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Carl R
Carl R5 months ago

Thanks!!!!

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David F
David F5 months ago

The other side of the Care2 story:

Illegal Alien Crime Wave in Texas: 611,234 Crimes, 2,993 Murders.

https://pjmedia.com/jchristianadams/2015/7/23/alien-crime-wave-in-texas-611234-crimes-2993-murders/

A government enforcing its own laws? Obama-Clinton must be gone.

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william Miller
william Miller5 months ago

thanks

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 months ago

Noted.

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Carl R
Carl R5 months ago

Thanks!!!

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rosario p.
rosario p.5 months ago

Women are on the top of resilience in the US. Courage and conviction, Sally.

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Anne M
Anne M5 months ago

Texas is getting paranoid...

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