Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott took a defiant stance Sunday and signed into law a bill banning sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State and imposing stiff penalties for violators.
The new law allows law enforcement officers to inquire about a person’s immigration status during any detainment stop, such as during a traffic stop. Previously, cities such as Dallas, Houston, Austin and other major Texas cities and counties had “sanctuary city” laws that prohibited officers from asking the legal status of citizens.
The law also imposes penalties on law enforcement officers, agencies and other state institutions that fail to comply with the law. Insubordination to the law includes failing to cooperate with federal immigration officials, who often need the assistance of local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. Penalties include monetary fines of up to $25,000 per day; removal from office, such as in the case of sheriffs, who are typically elected; and even jail time.
Abbott signed the law during a Facebook Live broadcast from his office in the Texas governor’s mansion.