Texas Legislature to Reignite Fight against Sanctuary Cities

Welcome_to_Texas_sign,_2008Texas Senator Charles Perry (R-28) filed a bill to tackle sanctuary policies this week for consideration in Texas’ 2017 legislative session. Senate Bill (S.B.) 4 supports immigration law enforcement by conditioning certain state funding on cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

S.B. 4 requires law enforcement to verify the immigration status of any incarcerated person who cannot provide proof of their lawful status in the United States by reviewing information from ICE’s Priority Enforcement Program. If the incarcerated person is illegally in the country, law enforcement must provide notice to that fact to the judge authorized to grant or deny bail and make note of the individual’s status in his or her case file. Additionally, S.B. 4 requires law enforcement to fully comply with all detainer requests by ICE and inform a judge authorized to grant or deny the individual’s release on bail of the existence of the detainer request.

Finally, S.B. 4 targets sanctuary cities by prohibiting localities from adopting, enforcing, or endorsing a policy that prohibits or discourages immigration enforcement. To enforce this provision, the measure allows any person, including the federal government, to file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General. Upon a determination that a locality has indeed violated S.B. 4’s prohibition, that locality will not be eligible to receive state grant funds for the following fiscal year. S.B. 4, however, excludes school districts, charter schools, and hospitals from these requirements.

Sheriffs Association of Texas supports the anti-sanctuary measure. A.J. Louderback, the Association’s Legislative Director, said local and federal officials “must do a better job of working together.”

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott has pledged to eliminate such policies in the state. In a letter to Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Governor Abbott wrote, “’Sanctuary City’ policies like those promoted by your recent decision to implement your own case-by-case immigrant detention plan will no longer be tolerated in Texas.”  Governor Abbott added, “Your decision to not fully honor U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) requests to detain criminal immigrants poses a serious danger to Texans. These detainers provide ICE with the critical notice and time it needs to take incarcerated immigrants into federal custody.”

The Texas State Legislature will not consider the measure until it convenes on January 10, 2017 for its 85th session. The legislature meets every other year for 140 calendar days.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    Ligaya Fabian of 1631 El Camino Real #8 Tustin Ca 92780 submitted fake documents and paid money to obtain a driver’s license but the dmv found out and revoked the license. She jumpshipped her flight from Germany to Canada at lax to get here. She now has a green card.

  2. avatar

    I’ve read before that the Texas legislature only meets every second year, but you have to think that this was set up when the state had no mass transportation and it was a very long difficult journey to get to the capital. Not the case now. They need to rethink that. They are the second most populous state now.

    A lot of people are talking about the popular vote, but a certain number of people will not vote if they think there is no point. If you are a Republican in states like California New York or Illinois many may not have voted. In the contested battleground states Trump won almost all of them.

    • avatar

      Well, Republicans lost big in Houston, Dallas, Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio, the cities that protect the illegal immigrants. Republicans in Texas have cried wolf before but could have done something about these cities about 10 years ago. When Bush ran in 2004, Harris County still voted Republican this time it went to Clinton around 12 percent that worst than Ca countries like Orange and Riverside that went for Clinton at only 5 or 4 percent. In fact Texas got less Republicans in than 2012, its going more Dem as time goes on unless Trump does something.

      • avatar

        Like what? …. Republicans do not like Trump either do nobody likes anybody….Texas will still go democratic soon enough regardless… just sit N watch how Trump will be block over N over