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Texas governor abruptly goes on Facebook Live to boast he signed bill to ban ‘sanctuary cities’

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a ban on “sanctuary cities” into law on Sunday, putting the final touch on legislation that would also allow police to inquire about the immigration status of people they lawfully detain.

“Texas has now banned sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State,” Abbott said in a brief video address on Facebook. Abbott signed the bill without advance notice in a five-minute live broadcast on the social media site, avoiding protests a customary public signing might have drawn.

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“We’re going to where most people are getting their news nowadays and talking directly to them instead of speaking through a filter,” said John Wittman, a spokesman for Abbott.

Senate Bill 4 makes sheriffs, constables, police chiefs and other local leaders subject to Class A misdemeanor charges if they don’t cooperate with federal authorities and honor requests from immigration agents to hold noncitizen inmates who are subject to deportation. It also provides civil penalties for entities in violation of the provision that begin at $1,000 for a first offense and climb to as high as $25,500 for each subsequent infraction. The bill also applies to public colleges.

The final version of the bill included a controversial House amendment that allows police officers to question a person’s immigration status during a detainment — perhaps including traffic stops — as opposed to being limited to a lawful arrest. It has drawn fierce opposition from Democrats and immigrants rights groups, who are already gearing up for a legal battle against the law.

Abbott defended the legality of the law Sunday, saying key parts of it have “already been tested at the United States Supreme Court and approved there.”

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That could soon come to a test. Sunday night’s signing prompted a fast and negative reaction from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or MALDEF, which referred to the new Texas law as “a colossal blunder” and promised to fight it, “in court and out.”

The proposal was one of Abbott’s priorities; he listed it as one of four emergency items at the start of the legislative session and it is the first of the four to reach his desk.

He had said it was especially needed after Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced earlier this year that her department would reduce its cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

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Moments before signing the bill, Abbott also invoked the case of Kate Steinle, a California woman who was killed in a 2015 shooting by a Mexican man who had been previously deported multiples times.

“Kate’s death was more than a murder — it was gross negligence by government policy,” Abbott said. “Texas will not be complicit in endangering our citizens the way Kate Steinle was endangered.”

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BY PATRICK SVITEK, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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MSNBC’s Morning Joe rains hell on Democrats for arguing over ‘academic politics’ instead of Trump’s ‘threat to democracy’

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough blasted Democratic presidential candidates for basically ignoring the constitutional and national security threat coming from the White House.

The "Morning Joe" host said Wednesday night's debate focused too much on "academic politics," which he said is a luxury this current political moment can't afford.

"It seems to me that the battles that we see in these debates remind me of the smallness of academic politics," Scarborough said. "The smallness, the difference, the minutia between, 'Did I help you get that passed, did you get that passed, you owe me this, I thank President Obama, but I don't thank you' -- come on, man."

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Italy court to rule on iconic Da Vinci loan to Louvre

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An Italian court is to rule Wednesday on whether Leonardo da Vinci's iconic Vitruvian Man drawing can be loaned to France's Louvre, bringing to a head a bitter cultural row.

The Venice court last week suspended the loan of the world famous artwork, due to appear later this month in an exhibition at the Paris museum to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist's death.

It did so after an Italian heritage group, Italia Nostra (Our Italy), filed a complaint saying the drawing was too fragile to travel.

The Vitruvian Man is kept in a climate-controlled vault in the Accademia Gallery in Venice and is rarely displayed to the public.

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Austrian man held in Dutch cellar family ‘waiting for end of time’ case

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Dutch police were holding an Austrian man after the discovery of a father and his adult children who were believed to have stayed hidden in a remote farmhouse for years, officials said Wednesday.

The mystery surrounding the case in the village of Ruinerwold in the northern province of Drenthe also deepened with reports that one of the children had been active on social media this year.

Police said they discovered a father and five children aged between 18 and 25 on Monday and arrested a 58-year-old man -- not the father -- for failing to cooperate. They initially spoke of six children but later revised the number down.

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