Texas lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday that would force local law enforcement officials to comply with the demands of federal immigration authorities. Commonly referred to as the "sanctuary cities" bill, Senate Bill 4 gives police the authority to question the immigration status of any person they detain. Failure to do so could lead to a number of issues, including sheriffs or police chiefs facing criminal charges and possible jail time, local government getting denied the state funding owed to them, a $25,500 fine each day for violating the law, and removal of any elected or appointed official.
After signing the bill, Texas governor Greg Abbott released the following statement where he discussed why he decided to go forth with this law.
"As Governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping dangerous criminals off our streets," Abbott said. "It's inexcusable to release individuals from jail that have been charged with heinous crimes like sexual assault against minors, domestic violence and robbery. There are deadly consequences to not enforcing the law, and Texas has now become a state where those practices are not tolerated. With this bill we are doing away with those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas."
Texas is now the first state to ban sanctuary cities under the Trump administration. In January, Trump signed an executive order which vowed to remove funding to sanctuary cities. However, this plan has yet to see the light of day. Senate Bill 4 is evident that Trump has effectively instilled the fear of undocumented immigrants into American citizens, even though there are barely any facts to prove his argument.