Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sparked a firestorm Sunday evening when he went on a live Facebook stream to sign legislation barring so-called “sanctuary cities” in the Lone Star State, igniting a backlash of threats about lawsuits, political defeats and protests in the streets.
This reportedly happened without notice, and it caught liberal “sanctuary’ advocates off guard, but they didn’t remain speechless for long.
The Dallas Morning News quoted Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, who said in a prepared statement, “This racist and wrongheaded piece of legislation ignores our values, imperils our communities and sullies our reputation as a free and welcoming state. We will fight this assault in the courts, at the ballot box, and in the streets if we have to.”
The new law, according to the Texas Observer, “allows local police officers to be deputized to enforce federal immigration law.” Essentially, if they encounter illegal aliens, police can hold them for immigration authorities, and local policies prohibiting inquiries about immigration and citizenship status are void.
Sanctuary critics have contended for years that people in this country illegally should be detained and deported. The subject has become a lightning rod for controversy, with liberals arguing that so-called “undocumented immigrants” should be allowed to stay here, while conservatives counter that immigrants or even temporary visitors on work visas must follow the rules.
In recent years the subject has taken on more urgency due to fears of terrorism.
Since President Donald Trump took office, he has attempted to enforce immigration law, only to have his efforts challenged in federal court. Federal judges have twice ruled against the president’s policies.
Abbott’s action Sunday is a “full 180” from what other public officials have been doing since Trump took office. Several big city mayors have promised to fight Trump’s policies, and Washington State’s liberal Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson took the administration to court and won. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has also stood in defiance of Trump’s actions, along with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
In many cities and counties, local officials have adopted policies that directly defy federal immigration laws. Police departments are prohibited from inquiring about the residence or citizenship status of people they contact, for example.
While the new Texas law does not take effect until Sept. 1, opponents are already engaging in “the sky is falling” rhetoric.
As if to counter that, during his five-minute bill signing presentation, Gov. Abbott stated, “Now let’s be clear, 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.”
That approach stands in stark contrast to the verbal barrages launched by anti-Trump sanctuary supporters. Critics suggest that sanctuary advocates prefer only to follow the laws they approve of, and ignore those laws they dislike.
There is something else that liberals seem to dislike but are apparently reluctant to acknowledge. One month ago, the Washington Times reported that illegal immigration has plummeted more than 60 percent since Trump took office. Politifact analyzed the data and ruled that claim to be true.