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A bill barring Texas cities and counties from passing “sanctuary” laws that stop local law enforcement officers from questioning the immigration status of anyone they detain was signed Sunday by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. He signed the bill on Facebook with no prior public notice, claiming that it would keep Texas residents safe.

Democratic lawmakers were unprepared by the timing of the signing. Abbott signed the bill on Facebook livestream because it’s where he felt most people get their news in this day-and-age.

There have been many protests over the bill. Last week, a Democratic state representative went on a hunger strike for three days, and over 20 people were charged with criminal trespassing for sitting outside of a state building all day where a few of Abbott’s staff works.

In order to confirm local jails honor requests from federal officials to keep dangerous offenders in jail, Republicans state that this bill is needed.

Bill Permits Police to Ask About the Immigration Status

This bill permits police to ask about the immigration status of anyone they detain, and required local officials to obey federal requests to hold criminal suspects for potential deportation. The bill also allows for criminal charges against city or county officials who deliberately reject obeying federal authorities’ attempt to deport people in the country illegally who have already been to jail based on offenses that weren’t related to immigration – one of the bill’s most controversial provisions.

All major police chiefs in Texas opposed the bill. Many worry that the state will now be subjected to racial profiling.

The timing of the signing was hurtful for some Democrats after three recent federal court rulings discovered intentional discrimination in Republican-passed voting laws.

No city in Texas has Declared Themselves as Sanctuaries for Immigrants

There is no city in Texas that has formally declared themselves as sanctuaries for immigrants – but Sally Hernandez, the sheriff of Travis County, is trying to change that. She refused to honor federal detainer requests if the suspects weren’t arrested for serious crimes or immigration offenses. She will obey to the state’s ban if it becomes a law.

For more information about this bill, visit the link here.

Posted in Criminal Defense

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