San Antonio police changing immigration policy

"As governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping unsafe criminals off our streets", Abbott added in a press release. Abbott spokesman John Wittman said they chose to sign the bill on a Facebook livestream because that's "where most people are getting their news nowadays".

"Abbott and Trump will be judged harshly by history for targeting for expulsion people who are deeply rooted in local communities and indispensable to the economy of Texas", said immigrant rights leader and America's Voice executive director Frank Sharry.

Other critics say the new law may be used to discriminate against Latinos and other minorities. "Elected officials and law enforcement agencies, they don't get to pick and choose which laws they will obey", he added.

On May 1, almost 20 protesters were charged with criminal trespassing after over 100 protesters staged an hours-long sit-in at a state building denouncing state's bill against the "sanctuary cities".

Mexico is Texas' largest trading partner and shares close ties with the state.

"This law takes some of the federal policies that we've seen and puts it on steroids", Junck said.

Abbott recently signed a law effectively banning sanctuary cities across in Texas.

For immigrants without paperwork, something as simple as a traffic stop can see them deported back to their home countries - many need to drive for their work, but cannot legally obtain driver's licenses without United States identification.

Police chiefs from two of the major cities in Texas, Houston, and Dallas called the measure a "burden" on the police force.

"Texas has now banned sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State", Abbott said in a statement from his office posted on Facebook Live. The law also applies to campus police at Texas's public universities.

"Governor Abbott just gave Texas police a license to discriminate", the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday signed a bill that prohibits so-called sanctuary cities and counties. Abbott said key provisions of the bill had already been tested at the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down several components of Arizona's law but allowed the provision permitting police to ask about immigration status.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, the top elected official in the county that includes San Antonio, spoke against the law at a Friday rally, flanked by his county's sheriff and district attorney, who also oppose it.

Under the law, police chiefs and sheriffs could be charged with a misdemeanor - which carries possible jail time - if they fail to honor a detention request from federal immigration agents.

Clint representative Mary González urged the Texas House of Representatives to keep the language about status inquiries limited to only people under arrest, saying that immigrant would fear reaching out to police if they were victims of a crime, like sexual assault.

  • Audrey Hill