Bexar County's Top Officials Ask Gov. Abbott to Veto Sanctuary Cities Bill

Gov. Greg Abbott made banning sanctuary cities in Texas an emergency item in January and has said he is prepared to sign the bill into law.

The Republican-led Senate passed the bill Wednesday despite objections from Democrats, who called the bill a "show me your papers" measure that would be used to discriminate against Latinos.

S.B. 4 originally started as a bill to ban sanctuary cities - those who refuse detainers or some other form of full cooperation with federal authorities on immigration - but through amendments came to include much more expansive immigration provisions.

The Legislature completed approval of the bill May 3, 2017.

The bill allows the state to withhold funding from local governments for acting as sanctuary cities.

When the bill was approved in the Senate, floor discussion focused on classes that are sometimes offered in Houston and elsewhere around Texas that help students obtain Florida gun licenses, since that state's license will work in Texas but has lower fees. Law enforcement representatives from all these cities called out the measure in an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News, saying: "SB 4 is not the answer to immigration reform; rather it is political pandering that will make our communities more risky". After the emotional Wednesday-night vote on the bill, Abbott tweeted that he was "getting my signing pen warmed up".

Immigrant advocates have likened the legislation to Arizona's SB 1070, passed in 2010 but later amended, which required law enforcement to check people's immigration status during lawful detentions when there was reason to believe they were in the country illegally.

In general, both bills force local law enforcement to fully comply with federal immigration law. "Local law enforcement should not be mandated to enforce federal immigration laws". Wolff was joined by San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, District Attorney Nicolas LaHood and a handful of other state and local officials in asking Abbott to veto SB 4.

"What do you tell all those good folks about the unfunded mandate that we did last week?".

"It's a possibility, but if that's the case, I know that I'm doing it because it's my moral obligation to resist unjust laws", she said. Many sheriffs and police chiefs in heavily Democratic areas warn that it would make their jobs harder if immigrant communities - including crime victims and witnesses - become afraid of the police.

"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".

"I think a study of civics can hopefully get us back to teaching that".

The State Senate Wednesday unanimously approved a bill dubbed "David's Law" that's aimed at curbing teen suicides by cracking down on cyberbullying. They are not undocumented immigrants.

"It's gone from a bad bill to a really, really bad, awful bill that will result in police officers investigating the immigration status of a person, including children, without probable cause", said Garcia, the Houston Democrat. Charles Perry, a Republican from Lubbock.

  • Larry Hoffman