Gov. Abbott signs sanctuary cities bill into law

Governor signed bill on Facebook Live

By Chris Shadrock - Web - News Producer

AUSTIN - Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4, which will ban sanctuary cities in Texas, into law Sunday evening.

In the unannounced bill signing, the governor signed the bill during a Facebook Live video.

Local government and law enforcement leaders held a rally on Friday, opposing the bill.

Texas Senate Bill 4 allows police officers to ask people they arrest or detain about their immigration status, and could mean jail for police chiefs, sheriffs and constables who don't comply with detainer requests. Local leaders think the law could create numerous problems.

"SB 4 is bad for public safety," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said Friday. "It will not make our streets safer."

McManus and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar believe the bill could compromise trust of law enforcement among undocumented immigrants, a community that is already wary of them.

Continuing coverage:

Local government, law enforcement leaders oppose 'sanctuary city' bill

McManus on sanctuary cities bill: 'The community will no longer cooperate with us'

Mayoral candidates talk about sanctuary cities at forum

House OKs 'sanctuary city' ban with tough jail penalty

"They feel they can't come to me, their Bexar County sheriff, because they're more terrified of being deported," Salazar said.

Before signing the bill, Abbott cited the death of a woman whose killer was in a city that had declared itself a “sanctuary city.”

“It’s inexcusable to release individuals from jail that have been charged with heinous crimes like sexual assault against minors, domestic violence and robbery,” Abbott said. “There are deadly consequences to not enforcing the law, and Texas has now become a state where those practices are not tolerated.

The law does the following:

  • Assess a civil penalty for communities in violation of the law, up to $25,500 for each day of the violation
  • Issues a class A misdemeanor for a sheriff, chief of police, or constable who fails to comply with federal immigration detainer requests
  • Removes from office for any elected or appointed official who does not comply with the law

“This is not the Texas I know,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “This racist and wrongheaded piece of legislation ignores our values, imperils our communities and sullies our reputation as a free and welcoming state. This is an assault on humanity. It will not stand.”

The law goes into effect Sept. 1.

 

 

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