Texas Governor Greg Abbott Has Signed Bill Banning 'Sanctuary Cities'

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

On Sunday evening, Texas Governor Greg Abbott appeared live on Facebook where he enthusiastically signed a bill banning sanctuary cities in his state. The first-term Republican governor, who scribbled his signature with flourish, did not provide the public with any advance notice regarding this signing.


Abbott’s office went live at roughly 8 p.m., at which point the governor spoke for five minutes about the responsibility of lawmakers to “keep us safe.” He leaned heavily upon the tragic death of Kate Steinle, as evidence for the ban’s necessity. In 2015, Steinle was allegedly killed by undocumented immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez in San Francisco—another sanctuary city. Now politicians like Abbott are exploiting her death in order to portray undocumented immigrants as uniformly dangerous.

After his appeal, Abbott uncapped his pen, brandished it before the camera, and signed the bill.

“Texas has now banned sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State,” he declared proudly.

Screengrab via Facebook
Screengrab via Facebook

As the Associate Press reports, this legislation enables police officers across Texas to demand the immigration status of anyone they detain, whether for a small traffic infraction or a significant crime. Texas’s Legislature, currently dominated by Republicans, refers to the bill as a “show-me-your-papers” expedient. And now that it has become law, sheriffs must comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or else face jail as a penalty. Among other things, this means detaining criminal suspects at ICE’s request so that they can be deported.


Every major police chief across the state opposes the sanctuary city ban, as do the Democrats in the Texas Legislature. At the federal level, courts have obstructed Donald Trump’s efforts to defund sanctuary cities. Abbott, however, argued that Texas is only replicating measures that have “been tested” federally. He does not acknowledge the vehement protests against them, nor the ongoing efforts to prevent their implementation. Instead, he doubles down on the pernicious, but all too effective myth that undocumented immigrants are brutal criminals.



At my Houston high school, when I was a sophomore, two self-avowed Nazi students beat a Latinx student into a coma (for the full details, read about it here). These were kids who wore Nazi clothing, had Nazi articles on campus, were known Nazis. It just happened, the same way confederate flag t-shirts happened and shirts with drawings of massacred animals selling guns happened.

Fortunately both students (and their parents, and the owners of the property where the attack happened) are in prison and hopefully will be for a long time.

Two years after I graduated, a student at my high school became a Fox news darling for proudly tearing down a Mexican flag that was hung over a banister by the Spanish club for 4th of July. I could not believe how quickly we forgot about David’s death (after surviving the coma, he died by suicide) and allowed Latinx lives and liberty become a partisan prop again.

Reading about what Abbott is doing I think about all my Latinx friends who skipped school after David’s attack because they were so scared, how there was no assembly for his life or memorial to him or even mention of him. My school is barely more than 50% white and had a strong showing of LGBT matters, and still Latinx students had to defend their existence every day.

This sucks.