Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday signed [signing statement, text; video] into law a bill [SB 4, text] banning so-called “sanctuary cities” in the state. Under the law, municipal officials who fail to assist with federal immigration enforcement could face civil penalties, removal from office and criminal charges. Abbot said the law was needed to maintain public safety in the state:
As Governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping dangerous criminals off our streets … 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.
The bill was approved [JURIST report] by the Texas House of Representatives last month and will take effect on September 1.
Since the election of US President Donald Trump, some states and cities have proposed legislation to crackdown on sanctuary policies while some cities continue to stand behind their policies [JURIST op-ed]. In March the Mississippi Senate approved a bill [JURIST report] to prohibit local sanctuary immigration policies. In February, the Alabama House approved [JURIST report] a bill to block funding for sanctuary universities. In the same month, Texas Senate approved a bill targeting sanctuary cities [JURIST report] by requiring them to comply with federal immigration law. Earlier in February San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over an executive order that would cut federal funding [JURIST report] from sanctuary cities. In January, San Francisco’s police chef was sued by an undocumented El Salvadorian over the city’s sanctuary protection laws [JURIST report]. Also in January, the New York Attorney General proposed model language [JURIST report] for immigration laws and policies in sanctuary cities.