Texas stokes immigration debate with 'sanctuary cities' ban

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed the state's sanctuary city ban into law, achieving one of his major legislative goals for the session and putting into statute a bill that is nearly certainly on its way to legal challenges from opponents.

On Sunday evening, Texas Governor Greg Abbott appeared live on Facebook where he enthusiastically signed a bill banning sanctuary cities in his state. Texas's Legislature, now dominated by Republicans, refers to the bill as a "show-me-your-papers" expedient.

In April, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing its threat to take away funds from sanctuary cities.

Every major police chief in Texas opposed the bill.

Those standing against the law have said its similar to Arizona's "papers, please" law, parts of which were struck down by the US Supreme Court on June 25, 2012.

It also requires local officials to comply with federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation.

The governor signed the controversial bill at 6:30 p.m. using Facebook live on the official page of the Texas governor.

"This law cracks down on policies like the Travis County sheriff who declared she would not detain known criminals accused of violent crimes", Abbott said.

The law, which takes effect September 1, compels officers to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and requires sheriffs to honor agency detainers, or requests to hold someone to determine whether deportation proceedings should begin.

Law enforcement officials who violate the law can be removed from office and even face jail time under the statute.

"We officers work extremely hard to build and maintain trust, communication, and stronger relationships with minority communities through community based policing and outreach programs", said a commentary endorsed by the top cops in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Arlington, Fort Worth and San Antonio, along with the executive director of the Texas Police Chiefs Association. Saenz said the law will subject people to widespread racial profiling as it is created to alienate "nearly half the state population". The order said it would "strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants", Press Secretary Sean Spicer had said the, according to CNN.

Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said it was "unfortunate that fear and misinformation" enabled the law the pass. Hernandez softened her policy after Abbott cut funding to the county, saying decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis.

They said immigration was a federal obligation and the law would stretch already meagre resources by turning local police into immigration agents.

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