Brownsville, Texas, Jun 7, 2017 / 15:40 pm
Two Texas bishops have defended from charges of fear mongering the opponents of a new law which targets sanctuary cities for immigrants, explaining that the bill draws little distinction between criminals and undocumented immigrants.
The law in question, Senate Bill 4, was signed into law May 7. It will take effect in September, and requires local government and law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. Cities which do not comply face fines and the withholding of state funding.
The law also allows law enforcement to question the immigration status of those they detain, as well as the victims and witnesses of crimes. This provision had led to fears that undocumented immigrants will be less likely to report crimes.
"The public debate often makes it sound as if all immigrants are criminals because they are here without proper documentation. Overstaying a visa is not a criminal offense; it is a civil offense against a federal statute," Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio and Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville wrote in a June 4 column.