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Reactions To Gov. Abbott Signing The 'Sanctuary Cities' Bill Into Law

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett said the "sanctuary cities" law will discourage immigrants from reporting crimes.

Demonstrators gathered outside the Governor's Mansion this morning to protest the so-called sanctuary cities ban, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Sunday night.

The law allows police to ask about a person's immigration status during a detention, like a traffic stop. It also makes local officials subject to Class A misdemeanor charges if they don’t cooperate with federal authorities by honoring requests to detain suspected undocumented immigrants.

"Governor, we'll see you in court," state Rep. Rafael Anchia of Austin said Monday after chastising Abbott for signing Senate Bill 4 outside of the public view and away from the media so he wouldn't have to "answer for his signature."  

Abbott, who made the issue an emergency item for this legislative session, signed the bill while livestreaming on Facebook.

 He said the law will meet the state’s top priority of keeping Texans safe.

Anchia, one of the bill's chief opponents in the House, called SB 4 "hateful" and said Abbott was trying to "score political points on the backs of immigrants."

"When history looks back at Gov. Abbott, they're going to see the most anti-Latino governor in Texas modern history," he said.

Here are other reactions around the state:

Austin Mayor Steve Adler

“Our law enforcement community could not have been clearer with the legislature: By driving people into hiding, this bill will make it harder to catch criminals, but this bill has never really been about keeping our cities safe.”

State Rep. Charlie Geren

"The purpose of this legislation is to protect Texans from criminals who are here illegally. We are trying to make sure those bad actors are detained until we can determine their status. This bill will not affect law abiding citizens, only those that are in trouble with the police."

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

“SB 4 will be challenged in court - you can take that to the bank. When Governor Abbott signed SB 4 tonight, he also signed a blank check on the taxpayer's’ behalf to protect yet another blatantly discriminatory law."

State Sen. Charles Perry

"Banning sanctuary cities is about stopping officials who have sworn to enforce the law from helping people who commit terrible crimes evade immigration detainers. Senate Bill 4 protects all Texans though uniform application of the law without prejudice."

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz

“Governor Greg Abbott yesterday sent a clear message that defiance of our laws in Texas will no longer be tolerated. I commend the Governor for signing into law this ban on sanctuary cities and the members of the Texas Legislature – especially Reps. Charlie Geren and Paul Workman and Senator Charles Perry – for their leadership in sponsoring this measure.”

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt

"We still believe that Gov. Abbott’s attempt at political retribution is unfair and unwarranted, but we look at this experience as a positive. By taking a good hard look and finding efficiencies in our processes, we will even further improve the great work being done in our criminal court, victim services and juvenile justice systems."

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett

"Immigration law is a federal matter. How it is and why it is that the state can suddenly become involved in the enforcement of immigration laws, I think raises some series legal issues. And I hope that this law will be challenged, not only on the streets, but in the courtrooms because it is fundamentally wrong and unjust."

ACLU of Texas

"Today, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 4, the 'show me your papers' measure that bans “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary campuses,” encourages racial profiling by untrained immigration agents, clogs up Texas jails with mandatory detainers and removes democratically elected representatives from office should they fail to comply. Sheriffs and police chiefs throughout Texas have criticized the law for fomenting distrust in law enforcement and endangering public safety."

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

"Many things in Texas are big, such as the colossal blunder of SB 4. With a stroke of his pen, Governor Abbott has undermined democracy and voters' right to choose their elected officials, alienated nearly half the state population now subject to widespread racial profiling, severely undermined public safety by triggering widespread non-cooperation with police investigations of real crime, subjected Texas businesses tied to trade or tourism to incalculable losses, and exposed the state's taxpayers to substantial costs related to multiple statewide and local challenges to this inhumane law. Given the size of the state, this may well be the most costly gubernatorial signature in all of United States history. 

"Many things in Texas are also small, such as the hearts and minds of the elected leaders who cravenly championed this wholly execrable legislation. 

"MALDEF will do its level best, in court and out, to restore Texas, the state where MALDEF was founded, to its greater glory, and to help Texas to overcome 'Abbott’s Folly'."

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley

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