SAN ANTONIO, Texas. According to Bloomberg, Texas passed the first anti-sanctuary city law in the U.S. Under the Texas law, law enforcement and elected officials are legally required to comply with the Trump administration’s newest immigration enforcement actions. Now, Texas is pursuing San Antonio for failing to comply. Texas’s attorney general is looking to fine the city of San Antonio for noncompliance. The Trump administration has attempted to hold funds from cities that refused to comply with the administration’s increased immigration orders, but federal judges have blocked this from occurring. Yet, in Texas, it appears that the state itself is acting against its own cities.
What does this mean for the city, and, more importantly, what does this mean for undocumented immigrants in San Antonio? According to the Huffington Post, the scope of Texas’s “anti-sanctuary city” law is limited. San Antonio is coming under fire because it failed to fingerprint suspected illegal immigrants, but some experts believe that law enforcement are not required to do this. Other experts believe that there is no law that can compel officers to make immigration arrests. Yet other experts believe that the Texas “anti sanctuary city” law is too vague. These experts claim that the law is merely in place for political gains and cannot be enforced.
What does the law claim to do? According to the Huffington Post, the law prohibits local police organizations from making it a policy against asking individuals about their immigration status during routine stops. Critics of this practice claim that it breeds distrust in law enforcement and makes it less likely that immigrants will cooperate with police. In some cases, there have been reasons to believe that immigrants have become less likely to report crimes. Yet others believe that the laws force immigrants into the shadows, including women and children who may be suffering from abuse.
What can you do if you are an immigrant and encounter police in San Antonio? The ACLU offers some guidance. When encountering police, it is important to remember that you have the right to remain silent. If a police officer asks you about your immigration status, do not lie. You do not have to answer any questions about your status, where you were born, or provide any information about how you entered the U.S. The rules differ when encountering an immigration officer. If an immigration officer asks to see documentation, you are required to provide it. If you are an immigrant, you are required to carry your immigration documents with you always. If you do not have your documents, assert your right to remain silent and consider speaking to an immigration lawyer today. The Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen are immigration attorneys in San Antonio, Texas who may be able to assist you. Our firm can help you protect your status either through family-based immigration or through an employment visa. Having the documents to protect your status can protect you from difficulties or challenges. Visit the Law office of J. Joseph Cohen to learn more about your immigration options.