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Texas Lawmakers Approve Ban on 'Sanctuary Cities'

  • Associated Press

Students gather in the Texas Capitol to oppose SB4, an anti-sanctuary-cities bill that seeks to jail sheriffs and other officials who refuse to help enforce federal immigration law, in Austin, Texas, April 26, 2017. The Legislature passed the bill May 3, 2017.

The Texas Legislature on Wednesday passed a ban on "sanctuary cities'' that allows police officers to ask about a person's immigration status and threatens sheriffs and police chiefs with jail time if they don't work with federal authorities.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott has pledged to sign the bill into law.

The Republican-led Senate passed the bill Wednesday despite objections from Democrats, who called the bill a "show me your papers'' measure that would be used to discriminate against Latinos.

Texas Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, answers questions as the Texas House debates an anti-sanctuary-cities bill that seeks to jail sheriffs and other officials who refuse to help enforce federal immigration law, in Austin, April 26, 2017. The Legislature completed approval of the bill May 3, 2017.
Texas Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, answers questions as the Texas House debates an anti-sanctuary-cities bill that seeks to jail sheriffs and other officials who refuse to help enforce federal immigration law, in Austin, April 26, 2017. The Legislature completed approval of the bill May 3, 2017.

The term "sanctuary cities'' has no legal definition, but Republicans want local police to help federal immigration agents crack down on criminal suspects who are in the U.S. illegally.

The bill allows the state to withhold funding from local governments for acting as sanctuary cities.

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