A sheriff dispelled many of the lies spread by open borders supporters about Texas’ new anti-sanctuary city law during a press conference Thursday in McAllen.
Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra told those gathered at the McAllen Convention Center, “As Texas Governor Greg Abbott has stated [SB 4] is simply a mechanism such that when someone has a criminal record, or who is also wanted by [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement], they are going to be detained and turned over to ICE. If you have not committed a crime, regardless of your immigration status, and unless you are subject to an ICE detainer, you have absolutely nothing to worry about,” reported The Monitor.
The chiefs of police from Edinburg, McAllen, Mission, and Pharr, Texas, joined Sheriff Guerra when he disputed misinformation spread by those against the sanctuary city ban, the local media outlet reported. Guerra assured those at the presser that law enforcement officers will not become agents for ICE. Edinburg Police Chief David White added, “We’re not changing from blue to green [uniforms],” referring to the green uniforms worn by ICE agents.
This past Sunday evening, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 4 in a Facebook video carried live on Breitbart Texas. Following the signing, the governor spoke with this reporter exclusively about the significance of the bill and the distortions being spread about it by the left. During the interview, Abbott said:
The so-called controversial part of this law is what some label as the ‘show your papers’ component. 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. The so-called controversial part of this law has been ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court and upheld.
Sheriff Guerra reaffirmed the governor’s comments, stating, “[During] a simple traffic stop – if the officer feels that he needs to ask the immigration status of that person, the officer still has the option of doing certain things – issue a written warning, issue a citation or arresting the person – they’ve always had that option.” He said the new law does not change the fact that officers have always been able to inquire about a person’s immigration status.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff added:
I have not received one complaint from any of the people that we serve complaining about an officer that they were being discriminated against. The law is very clear about discrimination – the law prohibits racial profiling and discrimination, any officer regardless of which agency they work for, found to be discriminating against someone based on nationality or race, would face severe consequences.
The bill’s author, Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) also affirmed this fact during the final debate on the bill as the Senate accepted changes made by the House.
The ban acts to prohibit a jurisdiction from stopping law enforcement personnel from asking about citizenship, Guerra stated.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) issued a “travel alert” after the Texas Governor signed the sanctuary jurisdiction ban, reported Breitbart Texas. Their warning told people planning to travel to Texas to “anticipate the possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement;” however, their claims of possible racial profiling neglects to acknowledge the fact that the law expressly prohibits this conduct by police.
Moreover, the new law 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. A human smuggling case would be an example.
Sheriff Guerra told the McAllen-based paper, “To all the people we serve, we want you to know we are here to help you. We want you to continue working with us. Now more than ever we all need to work together – we need to encourage you to report crimes, suspicious activity and fugitives, so that we may all enjoy a better quality of life and a safer community.”
In contrast to Sheriff Guerra’s honesty about the new law, Breitbart Texas reported Thursday that Travis County Sheriff “Sanctuary Sally” Hernandez teamed up with four other Texas sheriffs to claim that “FBI crime statistics have found that labeled ‘sanctuary’ cities experience lower rates of all crime types, including homicides.” Although fact checkers at the left-of-center PolitiFact admitted that the FBI report does not exist, they still dubbed the statements “Half-True.” “In my book, a ‘half true’ for an open borders study from Politifact means it was definitely bogus,” Center for Immigration Studies Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughn told Breitbart Texas. “It means ‘we would like it to be true, but it wasn’t.’”
The new law goes into effect on September 1, 2017.