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|5/22: Two Blatant Lies from Governor Greg Abbott’s ‘Sanctuary Cities’
Released 12 June 2017  By Gus Bova -The Texas Observer
Two Blatant Lies from Governor Greg Abbott’s ‘Sanctuary Cities’
The governor published a counterfactual editorial Friday about the anti-“sanctuary cities” bill.
Gus Bova -The Texas Observer
May 22, 2017
Governor Greg Abbott published an editorial in the San Antonio
Express-News Friday defending Senate Bill 4 — the anti-“sanctuary cities”
law that critics say will encourage racial profiling, undermine local
policing efforts and tear immigrant families apart.
In the piece, titled “SB 4 will make Texas communities safer,” Abbott
spreads at least two major lies: One, that only criminals need to worry
about being asked for their papers under SB 4, and two, that the bill only
requires jails to honor immigration detainers when a person is charged
with a violent crime.
Abbott, who made “sanctuary cities” a legislative emergency this session,
did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The governor writes: “Regardless of your immigration status, if you have
not committed a crime and you are not subject to an Immigration and
Customs Enforcement [ICE] detainer, you have nothing to fear about the
change in Texas law.”
That isn’t true. Thanks to a hotly contested amendment, the bill
specifically permits police to request proof of citizenship from someone
who’s merely been detained, not arrested. Put simply, being stopped by a
cop does not mean you’ve committed a crime. Abbott seems to have forgotten
about “innocent until proven guilty.”
Second, Abbott writes: “SB 4 requires law enforcement agencies to honor
ICE detainers issued for violent criminals.”
In fact, the law requires jails to honor all ICE detainers. Detainers are
voluntary requests from ICE to local jails to keep someone locked up
beyond when they would normally be released, so that federal agents may
arrive and potentially deport them.
ICE places detainers on arrested people the agency believes are
undocumented; it does not limit the requests to “violent” criminals. ICE
has even mistakenly placed detainers on U.S. citizens.
Critics argue detainers violate the Fourth Amendment, which protects
against arbitrary detention and applies to everyone — undocumented
Abbott, who sparked criticism when he suddenly signed the bill into law on
a Sunday night earlier this month, made similar claims last week in a
Univision interview that an Austin City Council member called “blatantly
On Monday, El Paso County joined the town of El Cenizo in suing the state
over the law, and the City of Austin has voted to do the same. The law
takes effect Sept. 1.
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