Texas Ready to Remove Officeholders in Sanctuary Cities
Lone Star State governor, lawmakers lead fight to rein in rogue localities
While Boston and other liberal cities revolt over President Donald Trump’s sanctuary city policy, Texas is getting ready to oust officials who refuse to comply with federal law.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he would “hammer” local officials if they resist federal efforts to deport immigrants in the country illegally, according to the Associated Press.
Abbott is apparently betting that job loss is much more likely to catch the attention of officials in sanctuary cities and counties.
Texas Republican lawmakers are readying a bill that would allow for criminal charges against city or county officials who intentionally don’t comply. Any county elected official, such as a sheriff, would face immediate removal from office if convicted of official misconduct, AP reported.
The Texas bill is the latest sign some states are ready to comply with President Trump’s executive orders on illegal immigration. Trump also plans to enforce existing laws that should give him plenty of tools to pressure local officials who refuse to detain illegal immigrants.
Many of the cities that implement policies to frustrate efforts by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office are known as “sanctuary cities.”
One such city is Boston.
The Boston Police Department refused to detain 15 illegal immigrants arrested last year so that ICE officers could deport them, according to the Boston Globe.
The law is known as the Trust Act. Boston police only turn illegal immigrants into the ICE if they are already wanted for a crime, the Globe reports.
Trump’s executive order will also withhold some federal funds, if that action does not impede law enforcement. And the Trump administration will begin compiling statistics on illegal immigration and sanctuary actions that until now were not required.
Massachusetts officials are not deterred.
The cities of Lawrence and Chelsea sued on Wednesday to stop Trump from stripping the sanctuary cities of federal funding. The cities want the order negated, and, in a fanciful twist, want the court to declare they have not broken any laws.
Sanctuary cities are clearly breaking law — law passed in the 1990s.
Title 8, Section 1373 of the U.S. Code states plainly that “a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”
But in Texas, as with most states, the Republicans control the state legislature and have indicated they will not tolerate sanctuary cities.
The most notable rogue locality in the Lone Star State is Travis County, home to Austin. Abbott has been warning Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, an Austin Democrat who will not detain illegal immigrants.
Abbott has already ordered the state to withhold $1.5 million from Travis County, according to AP.