Published: Mon, May 08, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Texas governor signs ban on so-called 'sanctuary cities'

Governor Greg Abbott signed a law targeting so-called "sanctuary cities" that allows police to ask about a person's immigration status and threatens sheriffs with jail if they don't cooperate with federal authorities on Sunday.

The legislation is aimed at achieving uniformity with the policies of the Trump administration, which grew frustrated when a federal judge blocked the president's effort (as merrily promoted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions) to defund cities that refused to give up their sanctuary status.

He signed the bill into law on Facebook Live. He said Texas residents expect lawmakers to "keep us safe".

In a statement released by the governor's office Sunday evening, Gov. Abbott says public safety is his top priority, adding it is inexcusable for the state to release those from jail that have been charged with heinous crimes.

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The police chiefs of Houston and Dallas - the state's two largest cities - last week called the measure a "burden" on local law enforcement agencies. The law will take effect on September 1.

"I want to thank Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Strauss, my sponsor in the house Representative Geren, and my Senate and House colleagues that made the signing of SB4 a reality".

Police officials found to be in violation of the law could face removal from office, fines and up to a year in prison if convicted. The order said it would "strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants", press secretary Sean Spicer said. "This legislation is bad for Texas and will make our communities more unsafe for all", the police chiefs of cities including Houston and Dallas wrote in an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News in late April.

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