Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed on Sunday Senate Bill 4, which will ban sanctuary cities in the Lone Star state. Abbott signed the bill, unheralded, during a Facebook Live video. The law allows law enforcement officers, on the one hand, to ask persons they stop or detain about their immigration status, while on the other hand, the law may mean jail time for police, sheriffs, and constables who refuse to comply with detainer requests from federal immigration officials.
Some local law enforcement officials have announced they will comply, while others say the law will be problematic. "SB 4 is bad for public safety," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said Friday. "It will not make our streets safer." He and Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County contend that the law will comprise public trust in law enforcement among illegal aliens. "They feel they can't come to me, their Bexar County sheriff, because they're more terrified of being deported," Salazar said.
Travis County Sheriff “Sanctuary Sally” Hernandez expressed her displeasure once the law was signed: “I am disappointed because this is not in the best interest of public safety,” the sheriff wrote in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. It ties the hands of our law enforcement agency and pushes victims of crime into the shadows. While I hate seeing a state law like this come to pass, I have always followed the law and that will not change.”
Travis County Sheriff Hernandez led the nation in the first Immigration and Customs Enforcement Declined Detainer Outcome Report. It was revealed that more than 70 percent of criminal aliens released nationwide after detainers were issued were in Travis County.
Abbott, in advance of the signing of the bill, spoke about the death of a woman whose killer was in a city that had declared itself a “sanctuary” for immigrants. “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,
The law goes into effect Sept. 1.
“Let’s be clear about something,” said Abbott.”We all support legal immigration. It helped to build America and Texas,” the governor said before signing the bill. “Legal immigration is different from harboring people who have committed dangerous crimes. This law cracks down on policies like the Travis County sheriff who declared she would not detain known criminals accused of violent crimes. Those policies are sanctuary city policies and won’t be tolerated in Texas.”
Following final passage, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick stated, “In the past six years, criminal aliens have been charged with more than 566,000 crimes in Texas including kidnapping, homicide, burglary and much more. There is no excuse for endangering our communities by allowing criminal aliens who have committed a crime to go free.”
“SB 4 will ensure that no liberal local official can flaunt the law,” Patrick stated.
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