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Hundreds Testify to Stop Texas Anti-Sanctuary Bill

Hundreds of protesters opposed to an anti-sanctuary city and campus bill descended on the Texas Capitol on Thursday. Shouts of “Governor Abbott is a fascist” and applause and shouts broke the normal decorum of the Senate Gallery.

Emotions stretched thin as hundreds of witnesses spoke with more than 15 hours of testimony and deliberations. Most of the witnesses pleaded with lawmakers to stop the anti-sanctuary bill.

Texas lawmakers on the Senate Committee on State Affairs deliberated and took testimony on the controversial anti-sanctuary bill, Senate Bill 4. More than 500 people signed up to be witnesses to speak about the proposed legislation. The hearing started at 8:30 a.m. but senators were still there at midnight. Most of the witnesses speaking on Senate Bill 4 testified against the bill.

The ACLU of Texas and others opposing the measure did what they could to organize those wanting to “Stop SB 4.”

Jackson County Sheriff A.J. (Andy) Louderback told Breitbart Texas, “All they did today was incite fear, misinformation, and try to twist what the legislation does and says … They are trying to say the bill creates state and local immigration officials. This is simply not true. All the bill is about is honoring ICE (U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement) detainers.” Moreover he stressed, “Witnesses to a crime have never been a target of ICE.”

During the hearing, the author of the bill, Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), told those gathered and watching on livestream that his bill was not a deportation bill.

Breitbart Texas reported about the substance of the bill when it was pre-filed in mid-November, and again when lawmakers held a press conference on Wednesday to announce the committee hearing and their continued commitment to passing the legislation.

Those opposed to the issue expressed their opinion on social media.

Just before 5:00 p.m., reports were being posted on Twitter that some witnesses were cursing, shouting, and some were said to be crying. Julian Aguilar, a border reporter with the Texas Tribune tweeted that one of the witnesses that had just testified “accused lawmakers of ‘shoveling horse shit for hours.'”

Witnesses were allowed two minutes to speak.

‘Today we worked around the clock hearing from over 500 Texans on senate bill 4. This is an initiative I co-authored to eliminate sanctuary cities. Safety and rule of law must be followed by all citizens and all local law enforcement,” Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) told Breitbart Texas.

Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) said “A healthy democracy depends on the voice of the people, so I appreciate those who took the time to travel across the state to testify before the Senate State Affairs committee. Senator Perry worked hard to improve this bill from last session so that law-abiding citizens are protected from unlawful detainment and, at the same time, local governments cannot create safe havens for criminal acts by illegal immigrants.”

Breitbart Texas reported on Tuesday that during his State of the State Address, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared banning sanctuary cities one of his four emergency items. Abbott said emphatically, “This is the session we will ban sanctuary cities.” The Texas Governor gave a shout-out from the Texas House floor to State Senator Perry, the author of SB4.

People from all over the country are following the Texas bill, and the generally hot topic of #Sanctuary Cities was trending on Twitter on Thursday.

Governor Abbott said during his address to Texas legislators that “Some law enforcement officials in Texas are openly refusing to enforce existing law … That is unacceptable,” he said.

Besides designating sanctuary city legislation an emergency item for the 85th Texas Legislative Session, Texas Governor Greg Abbott took action the day after his State of the State Address. As reported by Breitbart Texas, the Governor slashed funds going to Travis County. The removal of state law enforcement grants from the state to the county went into effect on February 1.

“Today I cut funding to Travis County because of its Sanctuary City policy,” Abbott Tweeted. “Stiffer penalties coming soon.”

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.

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