Protesters Interrupt Texas Legislature Over Sanctuary City Ban

“Isn’t it quasi-insane that we have to pass a law to force law enforcement officers to comply with the law?”

Chanting protesters interrupted proceedings at the Texas state capitol Monday in opposition to Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent law banning sanctuary cities.

Fox News reports that hundreds of protesters wearing red T-shirts reading "Lucha" ("Fight") filled hundreds of gallery seats as the last day of this year’s regular session of the Texas Legislature began. After about 40 minutes, they began to cheer, drowning out the lawmakers and forcing an end to the session. 

Some protesters held banners that said, “See you in court” and “See you at the polls,” while others chanted “Hey, hey. Ho, ho. SB-4 has got to go.” The chant refers to a bill Abbott signed into law earlier this month which essentially bans sanctuary city policies in Texas and gives law enforcement officers the ability to ask the immigration status of anyone they stop. Under the new law, officers who fail to cooperate with federal immigration agents could face jail time and fines of as much as $25,000 per day. The law will be effective as of Sept. 1

After signing the bill, Abbott told the Fox & Friends hosts, "What it means is that no county, no city, no governmental body in the state of Texas can adopt any policy that provides sanctuary, and second, what it means, is that law enforcement officials, such as sheriffs, are going to be required to comply with ICE detainer requests."

Then he added, “Isn’t it quasi-insane that we have to pass a law to force law enforcement officers to comply with the law?” Yes, indeed.

Texas is the first state to officially ban sanctuary cities under President Trump. So far, only Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee have officially passed bills into law banning sanctuary policies.

Opponents have declared it to be a “discriminatory, unconstitutionally vague” bill that encourages “racial profiling.” They intend to challenge the law in court, "after slamming it as the nation’s toughest on immigrants since Arizona’s crackdown in 2010," according to Fox News.

The demonstration in Texas lasted for about 20 minutes as officers escorted protesters out of the chamber peacefully in small groups, without arrests.