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

The law also imposes misdemeanor criminal penalties for officers who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, with fines ranging up to $25,000 a day.

San Antonio police chief William McManus ripped into the Republicans who pushed the law through despite the objections of every big-city police chief in the state. MALDEF and other immigrant advocates have vowed to challenge it in court.

The law "simply makes sense", Abbott said.

"Elected officials and law enforcement agencies don't get to pick and choose which laws they will obey", Abbott said in a Facebook Live post late Sunday, as he signed the bill into law. 1070, required police to determine the immigration status of individuals they had arrested or detained whenever there was "reasonable suspicion" they were not in the U.S legally.

He says a written department policy prohibiting questions about immigration status was added several years ago following community meetings.

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"The reason why so many people come to America is because we are the nation of laws", Abbot said after signing the bill.

"The State Legislature's passage of SB 4 was a dark moment for Texas and for our nation", stated U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) in a Monday press release.

The Texas bill signing comes over intense opposition from immigrant-rights groups and Democrats, who say the law echoes Arizona's immigration crackdown in 2010 that prompted national controversy and lawsuits.

"It is nearly a certainty that this, SB 4, is going to be challenged immediately as soon as it goes into effect in September", Jackie Watson, an immigration lawyer with Walker Gates Vela, PLLC, told KUT.

Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, said "we will fight this assault in the courts" and the ballot box.

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The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Republicans want local police to help federal immigration agents crack down on criminal suspects in the U.S. illegally.

About 2.5 million Mexico natives live in Texas, making up more than half of the state's immigration population, according to a 2016 estimate from the Pew Research Center. "It's just extremely personal".

"If they see a crime they're going to be afraid to call and ask for help", said Jaramillo.

The law significantly limits Texas universities' discretion to refrain from cooperating with deportation proceedings. One of the sponsors of the bill, Republican state Representative Charlie Geren, clarified that the bill would have no effect on immigrants in the country illegally if they had not committed a crime.

Attorney General Ken Paxton is looking to get ahead of an anticipated barrage of legal challenges to Texas' ban on "sanctuary cities", which takes effect September 1.

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Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said it was "unfortunate that fear and misinformation" enabled the law the pass. This is Abbott's second gambit against the sheriff: he has already cut off some of her county's budget in response to her attitude towards immigrants. "Now, Governor Abbott has signed the measure into law, legalizing the profiling of people based on their ethnicity and birthplace".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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