Senate Bill 4 (SB4) was recently signed by Governor Greg Abbott, making sanctuary cities illegal in Texas and forcing local law enforcement agencies to crack down on undocumented immigrants. However, according to an article from NBC News, local law enforcement agencies throughout Texas may not be in agreement with the new law.
Reasons Why Law Enforcement Agencies Are Against SB4
The new law lets law enforcement officers question the immigration status of anyone they have detained. There is no arrest necessary, just detainment. The law also requires that officers hold suspects for potential deportation, per federal demands. Those who fail to do so could be faced with serious penalties, including job loss.
Police departments throughout Texas have spoken out against the new law for many reasons, not the least of which being that it could add more work to an already challenging job. Some say the new law is essentially “undermining criminal cases and destroying relationships with marginalized people.” They argue that, for example, it could prevent witnesses from coming forward for fear that they will be deported.
Supporters of the new law claim that these fears are based on an incorrect reading of the bill, and that law enforcement agencies will not be required to perform additional work. They also state that, with proper messaging, the bill will make undocumented immigrants feel safer in their communities.
For the time being, the law has been passed, but it looks like it will not go unchallenged by law enforcement agencies and other parties throughout Texas.
What Immigrants Need To Know
Immigrants without proper documentation or whose status has lapsed may want to take this opportunity to speak with a lawyer about their options for staying in the United States legally. If you or a loved has been threatened with deportation, an experienced immigration lawyer can determine the appropriate defense strategy.