ACLU Issues ‘Travel Alert’ for Texas after Sanctuary City Ban

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a “travel alert” following Governor Greg Abbott’s signing of the nation’s toughest sanctuary city law.

The warning from the ACLU tells people planning a trip to the Lone Star State to “anticipate the possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement.”

The press release obtained by Breitbart Texas from the ACLU states:

“The ACLU’s goal is to protect all Texans and all people traveling through Texas — regardless of their immigration status — from illegal harassment by law enforcement,” said Lorella Praeli, ACLU director of immigration policy and campaigns. “Texas is a state with deep Mexican roots and home to immigrants from all walks of life. Many of us fit the racial profile that the police in Texas will use to enforce Trump’s draconian deportation force.”

“We plan to fight this racist and wrongheaded law in the courts and in the streets. Until we defeat it, everyone traveling in or to Texas needs to be aware of what’s in store for them,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “The Lone Star State will become a ‘show me your papers’ state, where every interaction with law enforcement can become a citizenship interrogation and potentially an illegal arrest.”

Governor Abbott signed SB4 into law Sunday night in a Facebook video carried live on Breitbart Texas. Following the social media signing, the governor spoke with this reporter about the significance of the bill and the distortions being spread about it by the left.

Directly disputing the ACLU’s “show me your papers” claim. “The so-called controversial part of this law is what some label as the “show your papers” component,” the Texas governor explained. “And what everyone seems to get wrong is they think that that provision was stricken down in the Arizona law. To the contrary, the provision in the Arizona law is stricter than the Texas law. The Arizona law required that law enforcement ASK for papers. The Texas law does not require it, it allows it so there is that one difference.”

“But despite that difference, the Arizona law was upheld by every U.S. Supreme Court justice, including the liberals,” he said emphatically. “The so-called controversial part of this law has been ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court and upheld,” the governor emphasized.

The ACLU’s claims of possible racial profiling ignore the fact that the law specifically prohibits such conduct by police. The new law also provides protections for victims of crimes and witnesses to crimes not already afforded under previous laws. Police officers are prohibited under the new law, from asking about the immigration status of a crime victim or witness, unless the immigration status is germane to the investigation as in the case of human smuggling crimes.

Abbott said nothing changes for law abiding American citizens when they encounter a law enforcement officer. “For American citizens, this bill has no impact on them whatsoever, and they have absolutely nothing to be concerned about,” Abbott reassured. “There’s only one group of people that is targeted by this legislation and that is people who are in this country illegally, who have committed violent crimes, and are subject to an ICE detainer request.”

During the final debate on the Texas Senate floor, the bill’s author, Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) also responded to the so-called changes in law enforcement actions during public encounters.  He said this bill doesn’t change anything in this regard and citizens and legal residents do not need “carry papers” to prove they are here legally.

Anticipating lawsuits on the constitutionality of the law, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fired a preemptive strike, filing a lawsuit against individuals, the City of Austin, and others who have threatened legal action on the State’s new law banning sanctuary cities.

“SB 4 is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders,” General Paxton said in a written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “SB 4 guarantees cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement to protect Texans. Unfortunately, some municipalities and law enforcement agencies are unwilling to cooperate with the federal government and claim that SB 4 is unconstitutional.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional information.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


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