Critics: Oh no he didn’t!
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill to effectively ban sanctuary cities in the state. Thing is, Abbott signed the bill on Facebook Live without giving any notice, which has left his critics with spinning heads. From Fox News:
Abbott took the unusual step of signing the bill on Facebook with no advanced public notice. He said Texas residents expect lawmakers to “keep us safe” and said similar laws have already been tested in federal court, where opponents have already been hinting the bill will be immediately challenged.
“Let’s face it, the reason why so many people come to America is because we are a nation of laws and Texas is doing its part to keep it that way,” Abbott said.
The law faces opposition from law enforcement in Texas, including all major police chiefs in the state. They do not like that police can “inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation.”
Abbott’s law “also requires police chiefs and sheriffs — under the threat of jail and removal of office — to comply with federal requests to hold criminal suspects for possible deportation.” Elected officials can “face up to a year in jail and lose their posts if convicted of official misconduct.”
Abbott released this statement on Sunday:
“As Governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping dangerous criminals off our streets,” said Governor Abbott. “It’s inexcusable to release individuals from jail that have been charged with heinous crimes like sexual assault against minors, domestic violence and robbery. There are deadly consequences to not enforcing the law, and Texas has now become a state where those practices are not tolerated. With this bill we are doing away with those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas.”
As part of the legislation, entities and officials that do not comply with the law could face the following penalties:
A civil penalty for entities in violation of the law of up to $25,500 for each day of the violation.
A class A misdemeanor for a sheriff, chief of police, or constable who fails to comply with federal immigration detainer requests
Removal from office for any elected or appointed official who does not comply with the law.
It will go into effect on September 1.
Remember, Abbott did this on Facebook Live without giving anyone prior notice. His critics cried foul since his approach avoided “demonstrations opponents planned for later in the week when they thought he was going to put his signature on the legislation.” The Washington Post continued:
“I’m not sure all of that is positive,” someone wrote in response. “Coward,” wrote another. “Afraid of all the police chiefs who spoke out against the bill?” said a third.
“Quite frankly I think it was a cowardly way to do it,” State Rep. César Blanco, a Democrat representing El Paso, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I think he wanted to get it done quickly with less friction.”
It was unusual for the governor to skip the typical fanfare and ceremony surrounding the signing of a bill, and to sign it in a way that did not include the speaker of the house or the lieutenant governor.
“This is red meat for his base,” Blanco said. “This for his primary voters, not for mainstream Texas.”
Texas state Rep. Victoria Neave (D) stated that many thought Abbott would sign the bill on Monday and make the signing “more public especially since this was one of his top priorities.”
People did swarm to the governor’s mansion on Sunday night to protest the bill:
Immigrant rights activists shouted “here to stay” and held up a banner with a words, “Abbott is a racist.”
“Today, on a Sunday, on the Lord’s day, he decides to sign this bill,” one protester shouted into a megaphone. “This bill that will terrorize communities.”
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