Society

Texas Governor Ready To Sign Sanctuary City Ban

| by Ray Brown

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas is ready to sign a bill that would ban so-called "sanctuary cities" in his state.

"The Texas sanctuary city ban wins final legislative approval. I'm getting my signing pen warmed up. #txlege #tcot," Abbott tweeted on May 3.

Texas' Senate Bill 4, which passed almost entirely on party lines, allows police officers to question a person's immigration status if that person has been detained, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The bill also prohibits local governments from passing legislation that prohibits a police officer from inquiring a detained person about his or her immigration status.

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Critics of the bill said it would make immigrants afraid to report crimes or participate in police investigations out of fear that they could be deported. They also argued that it gives police the right to racially profile people.

"We know the Republicans have the numbers in the building," said Democratic State Rep. Chris Turner, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, reported the Texas Tribune. "You’re going to see Democrats fighting very hard through a variety of tactics, including amendments detailing the deficiencies of the bill, the pointlessness of the bill."

But Republican State Sen. Charles Perry denied that the bill would result in Texas police officers racially profiling people.

"Nowhere in the bill as it came back from the House does it instruct officers to demand papers," Perry said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "Nowhere in the bill does it allow an officer to enforce federal immigration law. Officers still do not have the authority to arrest someone merely for being unlawfully present (in the country), which is a federal power."

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Perry also blasted the idea of local governments creating laws that pertain to their own jurisdiction, similar to how states make laws that might not jibe with the federal government.

"We cannot have multiple jurisdictions around this country or this state that pick and choose which laws they are looking at," Perry said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "It is about rule of law, very clearly, plain and simple."

According to Fox News, the bill would fine local jurisdictions up to $25,000 per day for not complying with the law and local sheriffs could face jail time.

"There are some officials in the state of Texas, as well as across the United States, who simply do not want to apply the rule of law in their jurisdiction, who want to promote lawlessness. And it's inexcusable," Abbott said. "And one tool that we now have is the ability to remove these officials from office by subjecting them to criminal penalty by forcing them into the jail that they are letting people out of."

Sources: Greg Abbott/TwitterDallas Morning News, Texas Tribune, Fox News / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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