Everything is bolder, bigger and better in Texas these days. Texas is also one of the few states that have stood up the Obama Administration on ObamaCare and Common Core. Now Austin and Texas Governor Greg Abbott can add one more line in the sand: Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants.
Abbott has signaled that he is ready, if not eager, to sign SB4 that would end Sanctuary Cities within the borders of the Lone Star State.
Sanctuary cities are those that refuse to cooperate in enforcing federal immigration law and refuse to hold illegal aliens arrested on minor charges until ICE agents can pick them up. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may issue an immigration detainer to another federal, or to a state or local law-enforcement agency, to inform the agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an individual and to request that the agency notifies ICE prior to the time when the individual would otherwise be released. It is this type of cooperation that the sanctuary cities refuse to engage in.
This decision to ignore federal law is costing the taxpayers on average $113 billion annually or over $1,000 per legal citizen annually.
In Texas, officials point out lost funds to educational and medical services that they must fund to residents that are not paying into the system or here legally is draining already strained agencies of cash. To a state like Texas that is facing a crisis on educational funding in the upcoming legislative session, it is shaping up to be a popular measure in Austin.
SB4 is similar to SB185 filed in the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015. Senator Perry’s SB 185 passed out of committee in the Senate but never received a vote on the floor. The Texas State Legislature meets every two years for 120 days and will not convene again until January of 2017.
Already several members of the Texas House and Senate have indicated a level of support, making it likely to reach Abbott’s desk for signature before the Legislature adjourns.
During his presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to deport millions of immigrants. He said during an interview shortly after his victory he would prioritize deporting or jailing any undocumented immigrants who were members of gangs or had criminal records.
He also vowed during the campaign to block federal dollars from cities that give sanctuary to undocumented immigrants. However, the State of Texas is not waiting on a law to wind itself through the swamp that is Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Abbott was replying to a tweet asking if he would stand up for the rule of law and end the City of Austin’s illegal Sanctuary City status. This Tweet comes after the filing of SB 4 by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) on November 16th followed the announcement by Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that ending sanctuary cities in Texas would be a priority for the 85th Legislative Session which begins in January 2017.
“By electing a Republican president and Republican majorities in Congress, the American people made it clear that solving our illegal immigration crisis must be a priority,” Texas Senator Charles Perry said in a release “That starts by eliminating sanctuary cities, securing our border, and enforcing the immigration laws we currently have on the books. We cannot sit idly by and allow local policies to undercut efforts made at the federal and state level.”
The five key provisions of SB 4 are:
- Municipalities are forced to comply with immigration detainers;
- Municipalities cannot prohibit or discourage officers from inquiring about immigration status during a lawful stop;
- State grants will be withheld if the Attorney General of Texas finds an entity is in violation of law;
- The immigration status must be recorded in a person’s case file; and
- The bill protects witnesses and victims of crimes if they are here illegally.
This builds off the work that Governor Abbott has already done to rein in liberal lawmakers in Texas that openly defy ICE and federal law on illegal immigration. In November of 2015, Abbott issued an order taking away money from Sheriffs that defy the law. They now face a loss of millions in state aid for refusing to comply.
“I am establishing new standards for Sheriff’s Departments that seek grants from the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division (CJD),” Governor Abbott wrote in a statement. “Beginning now, all CJD grant awards will require that Sheriff’s Departments fully honor ICE’s detention requests for criminal immigrants. Any applicant that cannot certify that their office will honor all ICE detainers for criminal immigrants will be ineligible for CJD funding. Further, any applicant that certifies full compliance with ICE detainer requests—but subsequently fails to honor an ICE detainer—will be subject to claw-back provisions and must refund the full amount of their CJD grant award.”
On October 26th of 2015, Abbott announced that Sanctuary City policies in Texas will “no longer be tolerated.” This action revoking funds shows immediate action by the governor who has also suggested new legislation be considered by the 2017 Legislative Session.
Among the suggestions by Abbott was modification of the Tort Claims Act to hold counties “fully financially responsible for the actions of any illegal immigrants who are released because the county’s Sheriff failed to honor an ICE detainer request.”
Texans historically have not bent to the influence of others when deciding their fate. Here is no exception. The home of the Alamo has decided that it will enforce laws despite pressure from leftist groups wishing to undermine the sovereignty of the U.S. whether that pressure comes from a rogue White House or sheriff’s and city officials that wish to gain power by coddling the illegal support of those here in violation of our laws and customs.
“Rule numero uno and messed with Texas;” Abbott and the Texas government are showing the world the consequences of breaking Rule Numero Uno.