Local Officials, Sanctuary Cities, and Why Texas Needs to Act - Texas Scorecard

In addressing the wave of protesters shrieking their frustration with Trump’s victory in the streets, city officials are assuring their constituency that conservative ideals – namely, enforcement of existing immigration law –  will not gain a foothold in the capital city.

Following Trump’s victory on Election Day, thousands of despondent liberals selfishly took to the streets to protest, blocking traffic and disrupting Austin’s downtown area in a futile display of childlike frustration. In response, Mayor Adler issued a statement assuring residents that Austin would remain a resistant bastion of liberalism and heavily implied resistance to enforcing immigration law.

“In Austin, we build bridges – not walls,” Adler said in the statement. “This week, mayors across the country have stepped forward to reassure their communities that cities will stand together to protect their residents,” referring to mayors such as Rahm Emmanuel in Chicago and others who made similar statements assuring residents that their city would remain a safe-haven for illegal immigrants.

Adler’s statement was echoed by Police Chief Art Acevedo, who has publicly opposed checking immigration status during criminal investigations.

Additionally, the newly elected Travis County Sherriff, Sally Hernandez, plans to end that office’s cooperation with Federal authorities for deportation of illegal immigrants – which, in combination with other officials’ obstinacy towards immigration law enforcement will make Austin the premier exemplar of a sanctuary city in the entire state.

That local officials are capable of eschewing or outright ignoring existing law in this manner underscores the necessity for the state to take legislative action.

Sanctuary cities – municipalities that offer a safe-harbor for illegal immigrants – have been a major subject during this campaign cycle and promises to take front-and-center this legislative session. Bills addressing this issue have been advanced previously – only to be killed by members of House Speaker Straus’ coalition.

This past session, the measure was killed in the State Affairs Committee by State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), who disingenuously touted a strong immigration stance in a narrowly won reelection bid. Cook has repeatedly been an obstacle for immigration reform over the course of several sessions in his capacity as State Affairs Chairman.

The situation in Austin is not isolated – local officials in other major municipalities all over the state are willfully refusing to cooperation with Federal authorities on immigration enforcement. Austin merely provides one of the starkest examples – and illustrates why state officials need to do more than talk about the issue this upcoming session.