Thursday, May 4, 2017
Here are recent developments on a previous post. AP reports (see also Los Angeles Times) that thee Texas Legislature yesterday passed legislation banning so-called “sanctuary cities” that allows police officers to ask about a person’s immigration status and threatens sheriffs and police chiefs with criminal sanctions if they refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the measure, known as Senate Bill 4, into law. The bill is opposed by Democratic legislators and opposition from a wide range of groups, including police organizations, who said it would break down trust between law enforcement and minority communities.
The bill would punish cities, counties and universities that have policies prohibiting local law enforcement officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status or enforcing immigration law. Those who violate the ban would face a criminal charge, and local jurisdictions could face fines of up to $25,000 a day for each violation.
Officers would also be allowed to question a person’s immigration status in the course of any legal detention, even for an offense as minor as jaywalking or speeding — a provision that has sparked anger and debate throughout the state.
“I'm getting my signing pen warmed up,” Abbott, who has been a strong supporter of the bill, tweeted.
“SB 4 will ensure that no liberal local official can flaunt the law,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement. “This legislation will eliminate a substantial incentive for illegal immigration and help make Texas communities safer.”