Texas Governor Greg Abbott sings bill banning 'sanctuary cities'

Washington: Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill that would ban sanctuary cities in the US state, the media reported.

The bill, which Abbott could be seen signing on Facebook Live on Sunday evening, establishes criminal and civil penalties for local government entities and law enforcement that do not comply with immigration laws and detention requests, CNN quoted the governor's office as saying.

The new measure would fine government entities up to $25,500 for each day the law is violated.

It would also result in a misdemeanour charge for sheriffs, police chiefs and constables who fail to comply with detention requests and in removal from office for elected and appointed officials, Abbott's office said.

"As Governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping dangerous criminals off our streets," Abbott said in a press release.

File image of Greg Abbott. AP

File image of Greg Abbott. AP

"It's inexcusable to release individuals from jail that have been charged with heinous crimes like sexual assault against minors, domestic violence and robbery."

The measure will go into effect from September 1.

Sanctuary city is a broad term applied to jurisdictions with policies in place to limit cooperation or involvement with federal immigration actions, reports CNN.

Many US cities, counties and some states have a myriad of informal policies and laws that qualify as "sanctuary" positions.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas said the bill "encourages racial profiling by untrained immigration agents" and it "removes democratically elected representatives from office should they fail to comply."

"This is not the Texas I know...This racist and wrongheaded piece of legislation ignores our values, imperils our communities and sullies our reputation as a free and welcoming state," CNN quoted Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, as saying.

In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order intended to crack down on sanctuary cities.

The order said it would "strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbour illegal immigrants".

In March, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to cut federal funds from the sanctuary cities and states that will not comply with immigration laws.

Late last month, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing its threat to take away funds from sanctuary cities.

Updated Date: May 08, 2017 13:50 PM

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