AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas has charged to the forefront of national debate over immigration as Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a so-called “sanctuary cities” ban that lets police ask during routine stops whether someone is in the U.S. legally and threatens sheriffs with jail if they don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents.
The new Texas law was blasted by opponents as the nation’s toughest on immigrants since Arizona’s crackdown in 2010. Opponents are now vowing a court challenge.
Abbott signed the measure on Facebook Live Sunday evening without advance notice, which critics say was to avoid protesters but the governor’s office says was to take advantage of social media. The law allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain.