Texas Stokes Immigration Debate With ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Ban; Law Enforcement Leaders Warn of Risks

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Law enforcement officials across Texas on Monday moved to revise policies after Gov. Greg Abbott signed a sanctuary cities ban that allows police to ask about immigration status during routine stops and threatens authorities with jail if they do not cooperate with federal agents.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott participates in a news briefing outside the West Wing after an Oval Office announcement with President Trump on March 24, 2017, at the White House. (Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said Monday his department will remove a policy that prohibits his nearly 2,400 officers from asking about a person’s immigration status. But the new law, effective in September, could endanger public safety by discouraging immigrants from reporting crimes and interacting with law enforcement officers, he said.

“We don’t want people to fly under the radar,” McManus said at a news conference. “We want them to help us solve crimes… I’m afraid that people will shy away from the police altogether. People are not afraid to interact with us. My fear is that they will be, going forward.”

Abbott on Sunday hailed the nation’s most sweeping law to target so-called sanctuary cities for immigrants as “doing away with those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas.”

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