NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – Seven North Texas law enforcement agencies tell CBS11 they are reviewing the new state law banning sanctuary cities.
One provision under the law that takes effect September 1, allows local and state law enforcement officers to ask people they stop to prove they are in the U.S. legally.
The departments conducting the review include police departments in Farmer’s Branch, Carrollton, Grand Prairie, Irving, Garland and the Navarro County Sheriff’s Department.
A Fort Worth Police Department spokesman said officers will continue to work under their current policies until directed otherwise.
A Carrollton Police spokeswoman said “it’s highly unlikely” officers will ask people about their immigration status.
Many police chiefs around Texas opposed the bill.
Richard Santiesteban works at the Dallas Police Department and is first Vice-President of the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization.
He says the law is impractical.
“We just don’t have the manpower or the resources to execute a plan like that. As you know, we’re extremely understaffed,” said Santiesteban. “When we’re at a scene, we want to focus on of course the victim and the actual offense that’s been perpetrated. We don’t worry about the status of the victim whether they’re legal or not.”
The law requires law enforcement agencies in Texas to cooperate with federal immigration authorities who request illegal immigrants be detained until they can be picked up.
If the local and state agencies don’t cooperate, the sheriffs, constables, police chiefs and other local leaders face misdemeanor charges and fines.
Governor Abbott calls this a public safety issue. “There are deadly consequences to not enforcing the law and Texas has now become a state where those practices are not tolerated.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz praised the new state law on Monday. “I commend the Governor for signing into law this ban on sanctuary cities and the members of the Texas Legislature especially Reps Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) and Paul Workman (Travis County) and Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock).”
Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn told CBS11 his jailers will continue to check inmates’ immigration status. But he said his deputies won’t ask people they stop on the street for their immigration papers.
Jose Santoyo came to the U.S. as a child when his parents crossed the border illegally.
He said many people are worried they could be deported under the new state law. “People are anxious, people are nervous about it.”
Santoyo said he watched Governor Abbott on Facebook Live. “It looked like a lot of political theater.”
On Monday, people rallied against the measure at the Governor’s mansion.
Santoyo said he’s telling people not to be alarmed because he thinks it will be challenged in court.
“There’s people who panic, people who forget the things they’ve learned over time. And they we up incriminating themselves by providing information that they don’t need to give police officers,” said Santoyo.
On Monday afternoon, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed court papers requesting that all lawsuits challenging the new state law be filed in the same federal court in Austin.