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Sanctuary cities are no more

In early March, Texas ruled in favor of banning sanctuary cities. What are sanctuary cities, you ask? These are places that offer protection to illegal immigrants, due to their not needing to identify their status of citizenship. The federal government is the primary enforcer of immigration laws; however, state officials were previously able to choose whether or not to follow their policies.

Sanctuary cities were rare, but available, to immigrants, until Republican governor, Greg Abbott passed Senate Bill 4 (SB4). This bill allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone that they come across. Any violation of this law on official's end will lead to consequences of a hefty fine or misdemeanor charges.

What will this change?

Other than there not being "safe" places for illegal immigrants to reside in Texas, some individuals believe that this will have a negative impact on communities in the state, including:

  • Unsafe communities: Not only do police officers have the power to check in to someone's immigration status, but all governing bodies in the area, including officers on college campuses, are granted this power as well. This could lead to elevated tension within immigrant communities.
  • Racial profiling: Because law enforcement can question anyone they detain or arrest, including traffic stops, it is possible that this bill could lead to the racial profiling of immigrant individuals, demanding proof of citizenship to any person they suspect of committing a crime.
  • Possible increased deportation: Critics of this bill believe that the new law will create an "arrest-to-deportation pipeline" for immigrants living in Texas.

SB4 has sparked much controversy in the state of Texas, as well as communities that were once considered sanctuaries to immigrants. The effects of this bill are still being played out.

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