As the nation debates the legality of so-called “sanctuary cities,” lawmakers in Texas are taking a bold stand with new legislation that does what many Americans have been begging for.
The Texas House has passed Senate Bill 4, which makes it a crime punishable by jail time for sheriffs to refuse to enforce federal immigration law, but that’s not all. Breitbart News reports that law enforcement officials across the state are in danger of prosecution if they shield illegal aliens from the feds, and the law is set to go into effect on September 1 once it makes its way through the Senate and is signed by Gov. Abbott.
Senate Bill 4 finally passed the Texas House Thursday afternoon by a vote of 94-53 along party lines.
Following the bill’s final passage in the House, the Texas House Republican Caucus sent out a statement saying the bill ensure federal immigration laws that are on the books will be followed and enforced in Texas. The caucus stated the bill prevents local entities from creating policies that threaten public safety.
“The purpose of this legislation is to protect Texans from criminals who are here illegally. We are trying to make sure those bad actors are detained until we can determine their status, ” said House Administration Committee Chairman Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth). “This bill will not affect law abiding citizens, only those that are in trouble with the police.”
Caucus Chairman Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), said, “House Republicans have proven time and time again that we are committed to protecting the rule of law and keeping our communities safe. We will continue to work tirelessly to pass legislation that ensures the safety of Texans, such as Senate Bill 4.”
The crime imposed would be a Class A misdemeanor for not complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers.
The measure was passed by the Texas Senate in early February.
As it is, Abbott has already taken a tough stance against sanctuary sheriffs. Earlier this year, he warned the Travis Country Sheriff that if she didn’t start complying with federal laws, she’d lose her state grant funding.
She didn’t comply.
In January, Governor Greg Abbott responded quickly when the Travis County Sheriff announced she would be changing her department’s policy about cooperating with federal immigration officials. The Texas Governor told her doing so “betrays your oath and the residents of Travis County.” Abbott gave her until February 1 to reverse her policy. The governor cut Travis County’s state law enforcement grants on February 1 when she refused.
A report issued by ICE on March 20 exposing sanctuary jurisdictions that released criminal aliens under an immigration detainer, ranked Travis County, Texas, as number one in the nation, Breitbart Texas reported. Well over 70 percent of the 206 criminal aliens released during the week of January 28-Februay 3 were released by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. Travis County Sheriff “Sanctuary Sally” Hernandez has denied that she is not in compliance.
Under the new law, Sanctuary Sally will be having to find a lawyer as well as explain to the city’s residents why her law enforcement budgets were coming up short, and it’s about time.
It’s preposterous to think that people who take sworn oaths to uphold the law turn around and selectively enforce the law based upon whether or not they like it. That’s not how this country works.
If people are unhappy with the laws as they’re written, there’s measures in place to change them. Failure to follow these procedures does nothing but erode confidence in our government and elected officials alike.
You know our country is in bad shape when laws must be drafted to ensure the police actually follow the law, but that’s the reality we live in. With any kind of luck, states across the country will look to Texas for inspiration in passing similar measures so we can finally get these lawless law enforcement officials under control.