Texas wins the “Trump trailblazer” award of the week for passing a new law banning sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State. On May 7, Texas’ Republican governor Greg Abbott signed a state law banning sanctuary cities. The Texas legislature meets in open session every two years, and the emergency bill was one of Abbott’s major goals for 2017.
A sanctuary city is a local government (city or county) that prevents police from enforcing federal immigration laws. The Texas law enforces several policies of the existing federal law:
- It prevents local entities like universities who have their own police forces from directing officers to look the other way regarding immigration status
- It criminally charges and fines any local officer who protects sanctuary cities
- It allows officers to question immigration status even at a routine traffic stop
- It allows elected and appointed government officials who skirt the new law to be removed from office
Opponents of the law say sanctuary cities are not a problem in Texas, and vow to fight the new law in court. Here is their plethora of reasons why the law simply won’t work in Texas:
- It subjects Hispanics to extreme forms of racial profiling
- It hurts businesses who are dependent on the immigrant workforce
- It strains relationships and decreases safety between communities and local officers
- It will costs the state millions in lost tourism and trade
Abbott was quickly condemned for the “colossal blunder”, and was personally attacked as being “racist”, “small-hearted”, “ignoring values”, and “sullying our reputation as a free and welcoming state.” Some opponents said Abbott chose Sunday night to sign the bill so that he could rub salt in the wounds of the state’s many Latino Catholic and Christian immigrants, since it represents their traditional day of church worship. The only problem with that argument is that Abbott himself is Catholic.
Despite the attacks, Abbott stands behind his decision to sign the bill into law after it quickly passed with flying colors through both Texas legislative chambers. “Texans expect us to keep them safe, and that is exactly what we are going to do by me signing this law.” Abbott said. Abbott has been a longtime advocate for much stricter enforcement of immigration law, and says the law is long overdue in keeping the criminal immigrant element off Texas streets.