The Texas legislature passed a bill Wednesday, banning sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State.

Senate Bill 4 requires state law enforcement, including campus cops, to comply with federal immigration law and prohibits municipalities from creating policies or regulations that circumvent established federal laws. The bill specifically prohibits discrimination and allows the state to levy civil penalties on non-compliant entities.

After the House approved changes made in the Senate, Senate Bill 4 heads to Governor Abbott’s desk.

“Banning sanctuary cities is about stopping officials who have sworn to enforce the law from helping people who commit terrible crimes evade immigration detainers. Senate Bill 4 protects all Texans though uniform application of the law without prejudice,” said state Sen. Perry.

Twenty-four anti-SB 4 protesters were arrested Monday and charged with criminal trespassing. After eight hours of protesting, demonstrators refused to leave the lobby of Governor Abbott’s office when the building closed. No one was taken to jail.

From the Texas Observer:

Around 10 a.m. the group filled Abbott’s office at the State Insurance Building at the Capitol complex, chanting and carrying signs that read “sanctuary for all” and “Senate Bill 4: Anti-immigrant and anti-democracy.” They called on Abbott — who made anti-‘sanctuary city’ legislation an emergency item for the session — to veto SB 4.

After the building closed at 5 p.m. and the demonstrators refused to leave, Department of Public Safety (DPS) state troopers, who had forced members of the media out of the building, arrested 24 people, including Casar. They were processed at the scene and weren’t taken to jail.

“Repeated requests by DPS officials to leave when the building closed were ignored, and the suspects were subsequently arrested,” said Victor Taylor, a DPS staff sergeant, in a statement. “All 24 suspects arrested were given a sign release citation for criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor, and released.”

Eradicating sanctuary policies has been a priority of Governor Abbott’s.

In January, Abbott threatened Travis county (home of state capitol, Austin) with a loss of state funding when the newly elected sheriff attempted to employ sanctuary policies. When Travis county officials refused to comply, Abbott made good on his threat.

At the end of January, Abbott declared a ban on sanctuary cities an emergency item for the state legislature, making it possible to fast-track legislation:

“As elected officials, it is our responsibility to protect all Texans,” Abbott said during his State of the State speech today in Austin. “It’s our burden to deal with the consequences of the federal government not doing its job to secure our border,” Abbott continued.

“Now let’s be clear about this: We all support legal immigration into the United States; legal immigration is what’s built the United States of America,” Abbott said. “What must be stopped is illegal immigration — and worse, the criminals who conspire with cartels to enter the U.S. illegally,” Abbott continued.

“Texas can’t change federal immigration laws. What Texas can do is to enforce existing law,” said Abbott.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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