Across America, mayors and government officials have spoken out against president Donald Trump’s executive order that blocks federal funding towards sanctuary cities, which are places that have limited cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Major cities whose officials have declared their alliance with the immigration population include New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. But smaller locations have also begun to join the movement — like Dallas.
According to the New York Times, at least 633 counties in over 20 states have limited cooperation with ICE.
Now, Dallas County has declared itself a “Welcoming Community.”
Dallas County judge Clay
Jenkins and four county commissioners passed the resolution, which recognizes undocumented
immigrants as an important part of the Dallas community. The government
officials felt the need to pass the resolution to help make immigrants feel
safe to send their children to school, call 911, and not fear the police on a
The official resolution states:
"We strive to make Dallas County a safe and welcoming community that stands on principles of rejecting racial profiling and racially motivated brutality and hate crimes that that impacts minority and underrepresented communities, including Black, Brown, Asian, LGBTQ, immigrant and refugee community members. We expect our law enforcement agencies to respond to the needs of our community and to respect, protest and serve all residents, documented and undocumented, to ensure safety for all marginalized people."
But Texas governor Greg Abbott responded to Dallas’ decision saying:
"If anybody acts on that resolution to make Dallas a sanctuary city, if any sanctuary city is implemented in any way, the hammer will come down."
Although Dallas technically named itself a “Welcoming Community,” it's not an official sanctuary city.
Still, Abbott vows to take action if actual policies are put into place. The resolution is non-binding and judge Jenkins, who helped pass it, isn’t worried. He said:
"It’s just politics. People in the Legislature want to show who’s the toughest on immigration and these so-called sanctuary cities."
On Wednesday, the Texas Senate passed a bill that could potentially cut state funding for sanctuary cities, counties, and college campuses. There could also be fines that range from $1,500 to $25,000. Elected officials could also face criminal charges if an individual is hurt by a person who was released despite there being an immigration detainer.
It’s important to note that this particular bill had been stalled in the past but with Trump as president and his strong anti-immigration agenda, it may well become law if it clears in the state House.
Dallas isn't the only county coming under fire for its views on immigration.
Abbott also criticized Sally Hernandez, the newly elected sheriff for Travis county in Austin. She caused an uproar among Texas republicans when she announced a new sanctuary policy that would reduce cooperation with federal immigration agents when an inmate faces the possibility of deportation.
She received immediate backlash from Abbott and the lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick. Several days later, on February 1, Abbott cut almost $2 million of federal funding for Travis County after Hernandez refused to reverse her sanctuary policy.
This is a tense time for Texans, not only nationally but also locally, as their government officials battle against each other over immigration issues and public safety.