Texas stokes immigration debate with 'sanctuary cities' ban

SB4, also known as the "anti-sanctuary city law" and to take effect on September 1, allows police officers to question anyone they detain about their immigration status, something they could only do in the past after arresting someone suspected of a crime.

For those who gathered in front of the Governor's Mansion Monday morning the fight against SB4, in the legislature, has come to a bitter end.

Chief William McManus on Monday ripped Republican lawmakers over the law signed Sunday night, which opponents say is the nation's most anti-immigrant law since an Arizona crackdown in 2010.

One of the sponsors of the bill, Republican state Representative Charlie Geren, said in a House of Representatives debate the bill would have no effect on immigrants in the country without documentation if they had not committed a crime.

"It's either skin color or language". McManus says that could include people even stopped for jaywalking.

It is already illegal for a law enforcement officer to racially profile anybody. Not only is this law morally wrong, it will strain our law enforcement and make our communities more risky.

Texas, which has an estimated 1.5 million undocumented immigrants and the longest border with Mexico of any USA state, has been at the forefront of the immigration debate.

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Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, MALDEF, called the law a "colossal blunder" and pointed out the law will further strain the relationship between the immigrant communities and the local law enforcement authorities.

"These types of actions criminalizes even more the topic of immigration, foments racial discriminatory acts and reduces collaboration between the immigrant community and local authorities", the ministry said.

"This racist and wrongheaded piece of legislation ignores our values, imperils our communities and sullies our reputation as a free and welcoming state", Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas said in a prepared statement.

"Isn't this quasi-insane that we have to pass a law to force law enforcement officers to comply with the law?" "Rather than wait for aggrieved individuals and entities to pursue their many constitutional challenges to SB 4, the state bespeaks its own apparent high anxiety about the legality of Abbott's Folly, SB 4, by seeking a preemptive strike through this lawsuit". He pointed out it only outlaws local ordinances that prevent law enforcement agencies from complying with federal immigration law. But just as the Arizona law was challenged soon after it passed, so too do some believe the Texas law will get challenged once it is passed.

During the five-minute broadcast, which began around 8 p.m., Abbott pointed to the 2015 murder of Kate Steinle, who was allegedly killed by undocumented immigrant in San Francisco, a sanctuary city.

"The Travis County Sheriff declares that she would not detain known criminals accused of violent crimes". Hernandez softened her policy after Abbott cut funding to the county, saying decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis.