Texas governor signs bill banning 'sanctuary cities'

Gov. Greg Abbott.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Facebook Live Sunday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill that bans so-called "sanctuary cities," which fail to comply with at least some requests from federal immigration enforcement authorities.

Under the new law, police can now ask anyone they detain about their immigration status, and local officials have to comply with federal requests to hold suspects who might be deported. "We all support legal immigration," Abbott said. "It helped build America and Texas. But legal immigration is different from harboring people who have committed dangerous crimes." The bill was opposed by every major police chief in Texas, Democrats, and immigrant rights activists, who call it unconstitutional and pledged to fight it in court.

Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez has set a policy for her department that limits how the jail cooperates with requests from federal immigration officials, while honoring petitions for inmates accused of serious offenses. The law bans such policies, with punishment including fines and removing officials from their posts and charging them with a crime. Abbott's office gave little notice of the signing, so protesters could not assemble.

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