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The Status of Sanctuary Cities in Texas

What are Sanctuary cities? They’re municipalities that offer refuge to illegal immigrants in certain situations. Those situations can vary from city to city.

Sanctuary can mean a number of things, including:

  • Not reporting illegal immigrants to the feds for minor offenses
  • Refusing to cooperate with the feds

You can see that there are multiple definitions for these cities. Understanding their current status in the country–and in the state–can be confusing.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide. Hopefully, it’ll help you understand where sanctuary cities stand. We also hope that you’ll be able to form your own opinion on the sanctuary city.

What’s currently happening with sanctuary cities in Texas?

Whether or not you agree on what sanctuary means, or whether sanctuary cities should exist, their status is currently under debate. Federal and state governments are threatening to pull funding from these municipalities.

There are two sanctuary cities in Texas–Dallas and Austin.

Governor Gregg Abbott recently spoke out against sanctuary cities. He is in favor of a bill that would withhold funding for any Texas city that does not cooperate with federal immigration.

The Texas House passed a bill that could it make it legal for law enforcement officials to require proof of legal residence. The nature of the interaction wouldn’t matter. For example, law enforcement could require such proof during routine traffic stops.

The bill passed 94 votes to 53 and is on its way to the Senate.

If signed into law, this bill would join other immigration-focused laws, such as Smuggling of Persons, born of House Bill 11. This law punishes anyone caught harboring illegal residents.

What does each side say?

As with any legal matter, there are strong opinions on both sides of the aisle. Cities like Austin and Dallas join others nationwide to provide fuel for a new aspect of the illegal immigration debate.

Let’s take a moment to break down the main reasons each side has for either supporting or not supporting these sanctuaries.


The idea behind the sanctuary city is to avoid uprooting someone’s life because of a minor occurrence.

The level of sanctuary in Austin goes so far as to prevent law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officers.

It’s not just about immigration and deportation, though. It’s also about civil liberties and preventing jails from profiting off of the federal government. Prior to the emergence of the sanctuary city, jails could imprison illegal immigrants after they served a sentence.

What’s more is they could ask the federal government to foot the bill.


There are many reasons referenced by those who identify with this side of the coin, including:

  • They may feel that illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crimes.
  • They may feel that illegal immigrants ought to be deported because they are in the United States illegally.
  • They may feel that illegal immigrants strain municipal, state, and federal funding.
  • They may feel it wrong for a municipality to refuse to cooperate with the federal government.

Though this issue has gained a lot of attention lately, it’s not new. If you still have questions about the state of sanctuary cities, please contact us.

This post first appeared on The Dallas Lawyer, please read the originial post: here

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The Status of Sanctuary Cities in Texas


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