Texas sanctuary city ban causes strong emotions on both sides of the issue

ICE has been busy (HHS)

Criminal aliens were charged with over 557,000 crimes in Texas the past six years. To combat the crimes, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill passed by the state House and Senate on May 7, 2017 that bans sanctuary cities in Texas. Last week 25 border area law enforcement officals (list below) endorsed the sanctuary city ban.

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On the federal level President Donald J. Trump’s proposed new budget calls for the government to withhold their funds from sanctuary cities. If passed, this would provide more teeth for the Trump Administration to enforce bans on such cities. Anti-sanctuary-city bills have been proposed in nine other states, including North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida. Since day Trump took office (January 20, 2017), border arrests for illegal immigration attempts to enter the United States along the Mexican border have dropped 67 percent. 

Many critics are branding the bill, known as SB4, as racist. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick reminds them that the crimes include “kidnapping, homicide, burglary and much more. There is no excuse for endangering our communities by allowing criminal aliens who have committed a crime to go free. SB 4 will ensure that no liberal local official can flaunt the law.”

Buzz from by the bill’s opponents portray the law that takes effect on September 1, 2017 as a “crisis,” “xenophobic” and “discriminatory.” However, SB4 does indeed prohibit law enforcement officers from asking about the immigration status of any crime victim or witness to a crime. The exception is built-in if the person’s immigration status is relevant to the crime as in a human smuggling crime, or when the victim or witness could obtain a protected immigrant status under provisions provided to a witness or crime victim.”

“There is a reason people come to American because we are a nation of laws and Texas is doing its best to keep it that way,” Abbott said after the signing of SB4.

Law enforcement officials, including sheriffs and police chiefs, are subject to Class A misdemeanor charges if they don’t cooperate with federal authorities and honor “detainer” requests from immigration agents to hold noncitizen inmates who are subject to deportation.

Abbott said key parts of the law have “already been tested at the United States Supreme Court and approved there.”

Liberal media organizations reported Abbott’s signing of the bill as a surprise, but at early as June 2016 (see video above) he was calling for an end to sanctuary cities. In February 2017 the Governor said publicly what he was going to do about sanctuary cities. On the syndicate Mark Levin radio program Abbott said he was ‘’putting the hammer down. This is offensive what’s going on in Austin, Texas. It’s actually the county, which is Travis County, which is the county seat of Austin, Texas. Travis County has declared what I call ‘sanctuary city policies.’”

ICE agents and U.S. Immigration officials (ICE)

“They are no longer going to hold for ICE detainers, certain criminals – who are, in fact, criminals – they’ve been arrested before for very serious crimes. They could’ve been arrested for armed robbery or working with drug cartels or all kinds of very dangerous crimes, and the sheriff is going to let them back out on to the street without letting ICE know anything about it.

“That is breaching her oath of office, is breaching the rule of law. Texas is not going to stand for it. What I’ve done is I have withheld $1.5 million in governor grants to Travis County, and I’m seeking legislation… that is going to really put the hammer down on any sanctuary city policies.”

“We are going to be asserting fines. We’re going to be seeking court orders that could lead to putting these people behind bars, the officials who are violating their oath of office,” Gov. Abbott continued. “We are going to make it so that it is impossible for any city or county to adopt any sanctuary city policy in the state of Texas.”


Travis County Republican Party Chairman James Dickey, when discussing the ramifications of law enforcement officials who violate their oath, may have explained the bill best, ““The person who walks down the street breaking windows is going to be affected most by the law against people walking down the street breaking windows.”

Attorneys in opposition are hopeful the new law could be challenged by at least two constitutional amendments:

The Fourth Amendment — the legal basis for search warrants, which prohibits unreasonable searches.

The Fifth Amendment, which protects people’s right to refrain from answering questions that might incriminate them.

“My message to the Hispanic community is don’t fall for all of the fear mongering that’s going on,” Governor Abbott said. “If you’re a criminal and you’ve done something wrong, yes, whether you’re here legally or illegally, you’ve got something to be concerned about. If not, you’ve got nothing to be concerned about.”

Message from LULAC General Counsel

NEWS LEGIT, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, offers this statement of the League of Latin American Citizens, General Counsel Luis R. Vera, Jr:

Attorney Luis Vera is the General Counsel for LULAC. (Law Office of Luis R. Vera, Jr)

It matters not whether your thoughts on the Republican or Democratic parties are good or bad. It matters not whether your thoughts on President Donald Trump and Governor Gregg Abbott of Texas are positive or negative. At this moment in time, history will record that the immigrant community in the United States and especially Texas was in crisis, a people in fear.

Historical hindsight will reveal that this crises, was an attack and attempted erosion of individual rights, liberties and freedom from government coercion and intrusion guaranteed by the 4th, 5th, 10th and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution.

As everyone knows, in this battle of political Xenophobia, 2017 is an attack focused on the Latino immigrants and all others born outside the United States. Whether it is the Muslim travel ban, building a wall, the incarceration of thousands of mothers and young children in prisons (whose only crime is entering this country chasing the American dream) or the mass deportation and separation of young US citizen babies and children from their parents, it is a sad time in the history of the United States and for me personally, as I am the son of Mexican immigrants.

“Historians will record 2017 as a battle on behalf of not only immigrants and the children who were left behind but also of a battle of preserving not only the due process rights of our great country, but also a battle of basic human rights.” -Luis R. Vera, Jr. 

Sadly, the history of the world and our United States has seen this many times. Whether it was Korematzu vs United States, wherein the United States Supreme Court found it constitutional to imprison people of Japanese descent, including Japanese US Citizens during World War II or Plessy vs. Ferguson, wherein the US Supreme court sanctioned segregation as constitutional, (the separate but equal doctrine) leading to continued hatred and bigotry of all non-white Americans, we have seen this before.

Historians will record 2017 as a battle on behalf of not only immigrants and the children who were left behind but also of a battle of preserving not only the due process rights of our great country, but also a battle of basic human rights. The stories you hear and read about are not fake news. Families homes are invaded and families are torn apart instantly, causing children to be left behind without parents. Many of these children become wards of the State.

Now with the law known as SB-4 the anti-sanctuary law, signed by Governor Gregg Abbott of Texas, the fear, the hatred and bigotry will worsen. This law in effect turns every law enforcement officer in Texas into a quasi-immigration officer. It is a law that punishes not the immigrants directly but attacks the individual rights of local governments and all individual law enforcement officers, including constables and college campus officers, together with public and appointed officials, if the State of Texas deems they are not enforcing Federal Immigration Laws.

LULAC (1929)

It is a direct attack on local government control of their policy and decision making authority to protect and defend the residents of their community and to use their tax payer dollars and resources for only that purpose. It is an attack on the individual rights of each and every law enforcement officer and elected and appointed public official’s oath, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and of this State.

On Sunday May 7, 2017, the State of Texas began its latest battle to further erode your individual rights and those of local government to direct its own policy, when Governor Abbott signned into law SB-4. On May 8, 2017, within 24 hours of signing the law, LULAC filed suit in the federal district court of the Western District of Texas challenging the constitutionality of that law. Critics say it is an impossible battle.

LULAC has fought many impossible battles since its founding in 1926. I became a lawyer 25 years ago after graduating from Western New England College School of Law and honestly, I’m tired of the continuous onslaught of attacks on all people of color, of the poor, the gay community, the disabled, and people of different faiths. Sadly, I know these seemingly impossible battles will never end. I am the longest serving National General Counsel for the largest Latino organization in the United States, and I have no choice but to fight another impossible battle. I am not ashamed to beg for help to all of good conscious.

In this battle I have been blessed with co-counsel’s Rene Hicks, former solicitor general of Texas, the ACLU of Texas (Edgar Segura), Lee Gelernt from the Immigrant Rights Project of the ACLU in NYC. Lee is the attorney who sought and secured the United States wide federal injunction of the Muslim travel ban against the Trump administration, just affirmed by the 4th Circuit Ct. of Appeals in Virginia, and Peter Schey as a consulting attorney from the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. Peter and his group secured the federal injunction and federal court oversight of the prisons that hold immigrant women and children.

We will move forward, even if we stand alone. I truly appreciate anything you can do, even if just a prayer. For those of you who are both Catholic and Latino you will understand when I say, “La Reyna de los cielos, y su promesa de protecion de su gente Mexicana nunca nos abandona”.God bless.Luis Roberto Vera, Jr.LULAC National General Counsel“I believe that We as a people will Rise Up, We will Unite, We will Resist and We will Defend”

 The cities of Austin and El Cenizo, along with Maverick County and El Paso County have filed lawsuits against the state of Texas regarding the bill. LULAC and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) have also filed suits.



SB4 endorsed by the following border area law enforcement officials

According to many law enforcement officials, the Senate Bill 4 does not change how most law enforcement agencies in Texas already work. It specifically prohibits racial profiling and discrimination. Senate Bill 4 provides new protections to crime victims and witnesses. 


The following law enforcement officials from the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico Border endorsed Governor Abbott SB4 “decrease fear and uncertainty about what the law really does,” adding, “whether driven by misunderstanding or by purposeful fear-mongering, those who are inflaming unrest place all who live in Texas at greater risk.”




Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez: Val Verde County

Chief Arturo Espinosa: Alamo PD

Chief Enrique Sotelo: Alton PD

Chief Ruben “Ram” De Leon: Donna PD

Chief Eloy Cardenas: Edcouch PD

Chief David White: Edinburg PD

Chief Primitivo Rodriguez: Elsa PD

Sheriff J.E. Eddie Guerra, Hidalgo County

Chief Rodolfo Espinoza: Hidalgo PD

Chief Ramon Gonzalez: La Joya PD

Chief Victor Garcia: La Villa PD

Chief Victor Rodriguez, McAllen PD

Chief Olga Maldonado: Mercedes PD

Chief Robert Dominguez: Mission PD

Chief Michael Vela: Palmhurst PD

Chief Christopher R. Barrera: Palmview PD

Chief Roel Bermea: Peñitas PD

Chief Ruben Villescas: Pharr PD

Chief Juan Gonzalez: San Juan PD

Chief Richard Ozuna: Sullivan PD

Chief Stephen Mayer: Weslaco PD

Constable Celestino Avila: Constable Pct 1

Constable Martin “Marty” Cantu: Constable Pct 2

Constable Lazaro “Larry” Gallardo: Constable Pct 3

Constable Atanacio “J.R” Gaitan: Constable Pct 4

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