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Texas Governor Makes America Less Safe By Banning Sanctuary Cities for “Safety”

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With the stroke of his pen on Facebook Live, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 (in the American Civil Liberties Union’s words, the “show me your papers measure”), which bans sanctuary cities.

Texas sheriffs and police officers risk a Class A misdemeanor and jail time if they don’t cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. CNN reports, “The new measure would fine government entities up to $25,500 for each day the law is violated.”

Last week, after fiery debate on the Texas legislative floor, the GOP did not dial back on the bill, which initially had a narrower focus regulated to interrogating immigrants under arrest. Representative Diego Bernal, a San Antonio Democrat, attempted to mitigate Senate Bill 4 through an amendment to exempt children from scrutiny of the law. However, Republican Representative Matt Schaefer turned up the stakes on the bill by expanding police interrogation in cases of both arrest and detention respectively—and children are still vulnerable in the bill’s broad language.

“As Governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping dangerous criminals off our streets. It’s inexcusable to release individuals from jail that have been charged with heinous crimes like sexual assault against minors, domestic violence and robbery.”

On Facebook Live, Governor Abbott chided Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez for refusing to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), harkening to his uncompromising, condescending letter where he rebuked her for not following her oath to protect the citizens of Texas. Like in the Facebook Live video, he falls back on the reductive narrative that undocumented immigrants are threatening criminals.

Sheriff Hernandez had previously noted that “driving people into the shadows” would only deprive the undocumented immigrants a voice in the law by dangling the threat of deportation if they dare to report a crime done against them. As a result, undocumented immigrants would be reduced into an easy target for crimes committed against them—with no law enforcement to assist them. Abbott is basically saying that these immigrants aren’t worthy of safety, and that we should leave them vulnerable and open to attack.

On an additional note, this matter has escalated into a “travel alert” by the American Civil Liberties Union, warning travelers to expect to be stopped by law enforcement when coming into Texas.

To accentuate the theatrics of his signature on the document, the Governor concluded, “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.”

Governor, we are a nation of immigrants too. We are a nation of bettering everyone lives.

(image: Shutterstock/clayton harrison)

Caroline Cao is a Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of Texas. When she’s not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, she’s doing cheesy improv performances for BETA Theater, experimenting with ramen noodles, engaged in Star Wars fanfictions, or hollering vocal flash fics on Instagram. Her columns and poems have popped up on The Cougar, Mosaics: The Independent Women Anthology, Glass Mountain. Her flash fiction recently earned an Honorable Mention title in Sweater Weather magazine. She has her own Weebly portfolio and contributes thinkpieces to Birth.Movies.Death. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter.

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