Texas Anti-Sanctuary Bill Advances in State House

The Texas House of Representatives is expected to vote on a measure to support immigration enforcement and eliminate sanctuary policies anytime in the next coming weeks. Sanctuary policies prohibit or restrict law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, allowing criminal aliens to live and work freely in communities. The House Committee on State Affairs voted 7 to 5 to pass the measure, Senate Bill (SB) 4, last Wednesday. The Senate passed SB 4 in February.

SB 4 prohibits sanctuary policies that impede immigration enforcement efforts and requires law enforcement to fully comply with detainers. A detainer is a request from ICE to a state or local law enforcement agency to maintain custody of an alien for no more than 48 hours so that federal officials may assume custody for the purpose of removal from the United States. Detainers may also request state and local law enforcement simply notify ICE an alien is about to be released. Federal officers only issue detainers for aliens arrested on criminal charges for whom officials have probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States.

Additionally, SB 4 makes sanctuary cities liable for harm caused by an official’s refusal to comply with an ICE detainer by waiving sovereign immunity if such case were to occur. The measure also imposes criminal liability on elected officials who intentionally or knowingly violate the measure.

Governor Greg Abbott made clear that one of his priorities this year is to eliminate sanctuary cities in the state and has thrown his support behind SB 4. Governor Abbott has already promised to withhold funding from sanctuary jurisdictions, including Travis County which includes the City of Austin. Travis County has repeatedly topped the list of jurisdictions refusing to comply with greatest number of detainers, reported by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Once passed by the House, differences between each chamber’s versions must be reconciled in conference committee.

Texas has been on the front lines of the illegal immigration issue, including the recent border surge of unaccompanied alien minors and family units from Central America. The Obama administration’s proactive dismantling of immigration enforcement nationwide over the previous eight years has forced many states to take action to discourage illegal immigration to their regions.

About Author


Dan is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best-known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to ImmigrationReform.com, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


  1. avatar

    Why do we need to past a law to enforce a law that we already have? ll they have to do is to enforce the law of aiding and abating criminals.

  2. avatar
    cynthia curran on

    Texas will still have a large illegal problem. The big cities like Houston and Dallas hire thousands in constructional work. Why doesn’t FAIR bring up that Texas is number 2 in total number behind Ca, and Houston and Dallas have surged lately in the illegal immigrant population Its conservative window dressing in Texas as usual..

  3. avatar

    There’s an article on washingtonpost.com by Griff Witte with the usual biased rhetoric about French candidate Marine Le Pen. She and her supporters are cast as “far right” and “reactionary” because they refuse to accede to the turning over of their country to foreigners who are incompatible with the French way of life. Not to mention the numerous terrorist attacks the country has suffered the last couple years.

    Among the details in the piece is the fact that Le Pen is getting 40% in the polls from 18 to 24 year-olds, twice that of other candidates. A sociologist is quoted as saying that’s a “paradox” because “the young overall are open to cultural diversity, open to immigration”. There is absolutely no “paradox” except in the minds of the media and elites. A person can know and like persons of other cultures while at the same time recognizing that open immigration is not good for your country. Those young people will live with the consequences of the decisions their elders are making. Their unemployment rate is already 25%.

    The NY Times, which has been portraying itself as “real news”, got slammed for carrying an op-ed by someone that the paper described as a “Palestinian politician”. What they failed to note is that he had been convicted of numerous terrorist activities in Israel, something the average person is entitled to know.

  4. avatar

    Sanctuary Cities

    Are selfish slave overlords that remind me of the Confederates during the Civil War against slavery wages. And they call us Populists Fascists? Its the other way around folks.