Gov. Abbott signs SB 4 into law

Gov. Greg Abbott signed 'sanctuary cities' ban into law on Facebook Live on Sunday. The law will go into effect Sept. 1. (Courtesy photo)

Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law on Sunday. SB 4 is the controversial “sanctuary cities” ban that the Texas Legislature passed last week. SB 4’s “show me your papers” provision allows police to ask people their legal status after they have been detained or arrested. Instances of detainment include routine traffic stops.

“I want to thank you all for joining me this evening as I sign a law that will ban sanctuary cities in Texas,” said Abbott during a Facebook Live video Sunday evening. “We all support legal immigration. It helped to build America and Texas. But, legal immigration is different from harboring people who have committed dangerous crimes…Texas will not be complicit in endangering our citizens.”

He continued by saying that the new law “ensures that law enforcement officers in Texas can and will cooperate with ICE. It also requires sheriffs to honor ICE detainer requests. This law imposes penalties up to $25,000 per day, and it can lead to jail time and removal from office for any official who refuses to comply with the ban on sanctuary cities.”

On Friday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff released a letter he sent to Abbott requesting a meeting to discuss SB 4. “Bexar County law enforcement officials believe that legislation will have the unintended consequence of diverting law enforcement resources away from our ongoing efforts to fight violent crime in our community,” he wrote.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, who serves a district in Travis County, which has been at the center of the national “sanctuary cities” debate, issued the following statement regarding SB 4 being signed into law:

“Texas has its own ‘show me your papers’ law, thanks to Governor Greg Abbott.

“SB 4 will be challenged in court – you can take that to the bank. When Governor Abbott signed SB 4, he also signed a blank check on the taxpayer’s’ behalf to protect yet another blatantly discriminatory law.

“The law won’t take effect until Sept. 1, 2017. In the meantime, we must raise awareness about SB 4 so that folks are vigilant about racial profiling.

“Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo recently announced a 42 percent decrease in the number of Hispanic victims reporting rape to his department, and this ‘chilling effect’ is likely to get worse under SB 4. We must also empower all women who are victims of sexual violence to report their experiences and ensure that our laws aren’t exploited by abusers.

“My colleagues and I in the Mexican American Legislative Caucus will not stop fighting against this law. We are the oldest and largest Latino caucus in the nation, and we will oppose SB 4 long after many of those who voted for its passage lose their seats in the Texas Legislature.”

Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) also released a statement after Gov. Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 into law:

“The state legislature’s passage of SB 4 was a dark moment for Texas and for our nation. Now, Governor Abbott has signed the measure into law, legalizing the profiling of people based on their ethnicity and birthplace. Not only is this law morally wrong, it will strain our law enforcement and make our communities more dangerous. Our state leaders’ fearmongering is embarrassing and harmful to all Texans.”

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