ACLU Warns Texas Travelers About 'Sanctuary City' Law
ACLU Warns Texas Travelers About 'Sanctuary City' Law
10 May, 2017, 03:08
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxtonfiled a lawsuit Sunday against the city of Austin as part of his effort to enforce a new state ban on sanctuary cities. Immediately after the signing, opponents of the bill indicated they would challenge the bill, which they regard as an imminent threat to the state's Latino population, in court.
Texas, with the longest border with Mexico of any US state, has been at the forefront of the immigration debate. Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said millions in the nation's second most populous state will now be subjected to racial profiling and suggested that anxious Hispanic residents will now be less willing to cooperate with police investigations.
The bill won't take effect until September 1.
Critics have blasted the controversial Texas law, likened to Arizona's "papers, please" law passed in 2010, which has drawn repeated protests about the bill at the Capitol. She said before Abbott signed it that she would conform to the ban if it became law. In this case, it just leaves the discretion up to law enforcement.
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Abbott signed the bill, known as SB4, on Facebook Live Sunday evening without notice, sparking condemnation from civil rights activists. "Citizens expect law enforcement officers to enforce the law, and citizens deserve for law breakers to face legal consequences".
"Let's be clear about something", he said during the broadcast. We're asking that these cities and states don't thwart immigration law. It helped to build America and taxes. Those policies are sanctuary city policies and won't be tolerated in Texas.
The Legislature has been attempting to pass the bill since 2011.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who was also named as a defendant in the suit, said he was glad the issue was heading to court.
Under the new Texas law, local governments can't prevent their law enforcement officials from sending information to the feds on criminals they have arrested or detained. "Local law enforcement will have to decide between violating a person's rights and being severely fined, thrown in jail, or even being removed from office for choosing not to do so", said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. The department's current policy on immigration states that officers may not arrest an immigrant here illegally on any charge for which they would not normally arrest any other suspect.
"There's nothing positive that this bill does in the community or in law enforcement", he told a news conference on Tuesday.
Despite opposition to this measure by police officers across the state, Republicans maintain this measure is needed.
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