SAPD chief headed to state capital with message about enforcing immigration laws

Chief McManus: 'We don't have the capacity to enforce immigration laws'

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police Chief William McManus is headed to the state capital Thursday with a message about enforcing immigration laws in the city.

"We don't have the capacity to enforce immigration laws in terms of the number of people," McManus said.

The city's top cop does not believe San Antonio is a sanctuary city and said his officers will only detain or arrest someone based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause and not because of their immigration status.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott asked the Legislature to prioritize a sanctuary city law by June if local law enforcement agencies don't comply with federal immigration laws.

The governor wants to keep sanctuary communities from getting state dollars. He also wants to remove those locally elected officials from office if they don't comply.

McManus said requiring his officers to conduct immigration status checks could come at cost to his department.

"Enforcing federal immigration laws will drive a wedge between the community that we're trying to work with and the police department, and that is the last thing we want to see," McManus said.

McManus believes it would make it more difficult for San Antonio police to solve crimes, but Abbott said the federal laws must be followed.