Protesters fill Capitol, chanting against sanctuary city legislation

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of protesters packed the Capitol rotunda Monday, chanting against the already-passed Senate Bill 4, which bans sanctuary cities in the state.

About 40 minutes into the proceedings on the final day of the legislative session Monday, protesters began cheering and chanting from the gallery: “Here to stay!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, SB4 has got to go!”

The law requires local government and law enforcement to follow all federal immigration laws and grant all detainer requests, putting in place criminal penalties if anyone breaks the new law.

Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law during a rare Facebook Live appearance earlier this month. In a statement released by his office at the time, the governor called public safety his top priority, adding it is inexcusable for the state to release those from jail that have been charged with heinous crimes.

“There are deadly consequences to not enforcing the law, and Texas has now become a state where those practices are not tolerated. With this bill we are doing away with those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas,” Abbott said.

Opponents of the law call it a “show your papers” law since it empowers police to inquire about peoples’ immigration status during routine interactions such as traffic stops.

Anyone who does not comply with the new law could now face any of the following:

  • A civil penalty for entities in violation of the law of up to $25,500 for each day of the violation.
  • A class A misdemeanor for a sheriff, chief of police, or constable who fails to comply with federal immigration detainer requests
  • Removal from office for any elected or appointed official who does not comply with the law.

The bill goes into effect Sept. 1.

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