Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has officially signed into law a measure to punish so-called "sanctuary cities," despite pleas from some of the police departments of cities like Austin to halt the bill they said would hinder their ability to fight crime. Sure, because enforcing laws tends to 'hinder' the crime-fighting process.
Per Reuters, the Republican-dominated legislature passed the bill on party-line votes and sent the measure to Abbott earlier this month. The bill is designed to punish local authorities who do not abide by requests to cooperate with federal immigration agents. 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 measure also allows police to ask people about their immigration status during a lawful detention, even for minor infractions like jaywalking.
Of course, Texas, which has an estimated 1.5 million illegal immigrants and the longest border with Mexico of any U.S. state, has been at the forefront of the immigration debate.
“As governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping dangerous criminals off our streets,” Abbott said in a statement. The law will take effect on Sept. 1.
Of course, some law enforcement officials, like "sanctuary" Sally Hernandez of Travis County (Austin), has vowed to fight Abbott's legislation and, up to this point, has refused to cooperate with federal immigration agents.
Meanwhile, Democrats continue to fight the measure with buzz words like "racial profiling", because anyone who doesn't agree with them is a racist, and allegations that such laws are a threat to public safety, without providing any evidence, of course.
Democrats have warned the measure could lead to unconstitutional racial profiling and civil rights groups have promised to fight the Texas measure in court.
"This legislation is bad for Texas and will make our communities more dangerous for all," the police chiefs of cities including Houston and Dallas wrote in an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News in late April.
They said immigration was a federal obligation and the law would stretch already meager resources by turning local police into immigration agents.
The police chiefs said the measure would widen a gap between police and immigrant communities, creating a class of silent victims and eliminating the potential for assistance from immigrants in solving or preventing crimes.
We missed the part in our Civics 101 class where we discussed police departments and their ability to unilaterally pick and choose which laws they're going to enforce...hopefully someone can explain how that works.