Amid controversy, Texas Legislature passes bill banning "Sanctuary Cities"

May 7, 2017

Protesters block the doors to the State Insurance Building, on the Capitol grounds in Austin, in protest of Senate Bill 4, known as the "sanctuary cities" bill, last week.
Credit Bob Daemmerich / Texas Tribune

A bill that would make it illegal for cities to refuse orders to arrest undocumented immigrants cleared its final hurdle in the Texas Legislature last week.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the controversial measure banning so-called “sanctuary cities” now heads to the desk of Governor Greg Abbot, to become law. Abbott is expected to sign it.

The bill was met with fierce opposition from immigrant advocates, including protesters who held a sit-in at the state capitol, blocking entrances and chanting. State troopers arrested 22 of the protesters. The legislation requires sheriffs and police officers to obey federal orders to detain noncitizens, who are subject to deportation.

Critics of the measure insist that city police are not Federal employees, and should not act as emissaries of the Federal Government.

The bill also allows police to detain and question a person about their immigration status, without arresting them.