‘Communities Will Be Less Safe': Protests, Growing Fallout Surrounds SB 4

Protesters rallied outside Governor Greg Abbott’s mansion for hours after he signed Senate Bill 4 into law on Sunday.

Protests were expected to resume Monday following the growing fallout in both Austin and in North Texas.

The Republican-controlled Texas House approved a strict ban on “sanctuary cities” early Thursday, empowering local officers to enforce federal immigration law against detainees. The law would force officers to share information with federal agents.

“This law cracks down on policies like the Travis County Sheriff who declared that she would not detain known criminals accused of violent crimes," said Gov. Abbott during a Facebook live broadcast. "Those policies are sanctuary city policies and won’t be tolerated in Texas.

After signing the bill he stated, “The reason why so many people come to America is because we are a nation of laws, and Texas is doing its part to keep it that way,” said the Governor.

Other leaders in North Texas are passionately against the bill.

“Our number one job is to keep you safe,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who was adamantly opposed to SB 4. “We are sworn to protect and serve everyone, and these politicians have made it a lot harder to do that."

Police Chiefs in Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth and Houston have all spoken out against SB 4. The concern surrounds the strain that would be placed on local officers taking on new federal responsibilities. Others community leaders fear the law will make communities in North Texas less safe.

“As far as we're concerned, we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that Dallas County remains a welcoming community...a place where everyone can dial 911 and know that we are going to investigate the crime and not investigate the victims, a place where you can go to our emergency rooms if you need emergency care, and a place where children can be sent to school and know that people will be treated equally and with respect at school and moms won't be profiled in the pickup line,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Protests will resume Monday morning at 9 a.m. in Austin.

“SB 4 is very much an attack on the safety net we all have as Texans,” said Kristian Steffany, a member of United We Dream, an activist group fighting the bill. “Regardless of your immigration status this legislation goes back to racial profiling,” said Steffany. Additional rallies will be held in Dallas and Arlington.

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