U.S. governor signs bill banning 'sanctuary cities'

Greg Abbott has signed a law banning sanctuary cities in the state. Abbott's spokesman said the reason it was done on Facebook was because many people receive their news there.

The law requires local officials to carry out federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation and threatens sheriffs with arrest if they refuse to cooperate with federal authorities.

Under the law, police officers in Texas may ask about a person's immigration status during any legal detention, including a routine traffic stop. "With this bill we are doing away with those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas", said Governor Abbott.

Saenz said the law would alienate "nearly half the state population" and make people subject to widespread racial profiling.

Abbott designated the ban as an emergency item in January and signed the bill four days after both chambers of the state legislature gave their final approval.

"It is nearly a certainty that this, SB 4, is going to be challenged immediately as soon as it goes into effect in September", Jackie Watson, an immigration lawyer with Walker Gates Vela, PLLC, told KUT.

However, last month a court blocked his executive order to deny cities harboring undocumented immigrants billions of dollars in federal funding.

The ACLU of Texas released a statement saying SB 4 has already had a negative impact on victims of rape and domestic abuse.

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In this Sunday, May 7, 2017 frame from video posted by the Office of the Governor, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signs a so-called "sanctuary cities" ban in Austin Texas. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that Texas is home to more than 1.4 million people who are in the country illegally, including 71,000 living in the San Antonio area.

"This legislation is bad for Texas and will make our communities more unsafe for all", the police chiefs of cities, including Houston and Dallas, wrote in an opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News in late April. Abbott said Monday on "Fox and Friends".

Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, MALDEF, called the law a "colossal blunder" and pointed out the law will further strain the relationship between the immigrant communities and the local law enforcement authorities.

The law criminally and financially sanctions cities, counties and college campuses that adopt any policies which ignore federal detainers and prevent police from enforcing immigration laws.

Attorney General Ken Paxton is looking to get ahead of an anticipated barrage of legal challenges to Texas' ban on "sanctuary cities", which takes effect September 1.

"The new Texas law was blasted by opponents as the nation's toughest on immigrants since Arizona's crackdown in 2010, disparagingly known as the "papers, please" provision".

"Ours is the part of the Arizona bill that wasn't struck down", Paxton said.

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