Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB4 into law on Sunday, which allows law enforcement officials during routine stops to ask any individual whether or not they are in the country legally or not. The bill is aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, but primarily aims at ending sanctuary cities.
Sanctuary cities officially banned in Texas as #SB4 becomes law: https://t.co/WMhJJGGqKU #sanctuarycities #txlege @KXAN_News
— Drive West (@DriveWestComm) May 8, 2017
Following Abbott’s lead, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against local jurisdictions failing to cooperate with federal immigration agents and laws. Paxton’s suit is geared towards adding tougher measures to the newly signed anti-sanctuary city law.
Under SB4, local officers in the state of Texas are subject to jail time and fines up to $25,000 per day if they choose not to cooperate with federal immigration agents.
“Unfortunately, some municipalities and law enforcement agencies are unwilling to cooperate with the federal government and claim that SB 4 is unconstitutional,” Paxton said.
Travis County, the city of Austin, and many other local officials are named as defendants in the lawsuit. Paxton released a statement adding that he hopes the court will uphold the constitutionality of the law.
“SB 4 is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders,” Paxton said. “Unfortunately, some municipalities and law enforcement agencies are unwilling to cooperate with the federal government and claim that SB 4 is unconstitutional.”
Offering his support to the new law, Sen. Ted Cruz commended Abbott for his bold stance against illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.
#SB4 signing gets a thumbs-up from @TedCruz, who says Abbott "sent a clear message that defiance of our laws… will no longer be tolerated" pic.twitter.com/vbaOGH9VIV
— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) May 8, 2017
The Austin police department. however, joined others in their disagreement with SB4.
“The Austin Police Department has worked hard to build and maintain trust, communication and stronger relationships with our communities through outreach programs and community policing. This effort and engagement will continue. With the passage of this law, we want our minority community to maintain their trust in us, if you see or are a victim of a criminal act we want you to call us and report it.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a “travel alert” on Tuesday warning that Americans will be entering a “low-rights zone” if they travel to Texas once SB4 goes into effect in September.
The group’s official statement takes issue with officers being able to ask people if they are in this country legally or not, adding that somehow that is unconstitutional and too invasive.
“The ACLU’s goal is to protect all Texans and all people traveling through Texas — regardless of their immigration status — from illegal harassment by law enforcement,” said Lorella Praeli, ACLU director of immigration policy and campaigns. “Texas is a state with deep Mexican roots and home to immigrants from all walks of life. Many of us fit the racial profile that the police in Texas will use to enforce Trump’s draconian deportation force.”
"#SB4 is not the answer to immigration reform" – Dallas & Houston police chiefs pen open letter to the #TXlege https://t.co/DQKLbC4aW4
— ACLU of Texas (@ACLUTx) May 1, 2017
Amid a flurry of reactions, Gov. Abbott’s quote still seems most appropriate: “only criminals should worry about the new law.”
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