By limiting cooperation with the federal immigration authorities, such policies give local officials discretion in reporting immigration status, encouraging low-level criminals and victims to engage with the justice system even if they are living in the United States illegally, the proponents say.
The Texas bill angered many immigrants’ rights advocates, who compared it to Arizona’s S.B. 1070, the 2010 law that granted broad authority to local law enforcement officers to detain people suspected of being in the country illegally. That led to lawsuits, boycotts and the cancellation of conventions and concerts in Arizona.
Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the same would come of the Texas law.
By signing the bill, Mr. Abbott has “subjected Texas businesses tied to trade or tourism to incalculable losses and exposed the state’s taxpayers to substantial costs related to multiple statewide and local challenges to this inhumane law,” Mr. Saenz said in a statement.
Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said in a statement that the organization planned to fight the law.
Republican officials in Texas have spoken out for months against local law enforcement officers who fail to cooperate with federal immigration guidelines.
Mr. Abbott, in particular, has been critical of two Hispanic sheriffs, and he canceled state criminal-justice grants to Travis County over the issue.
Texas is not alone in seeking to thwart sanctuary policies. Just days after taking office, President Trump signed an executive order limiting federal funding to cities that restrict cooperation with immigration authorities. Late last month, however, a federal judge blocked the effort, saying that only Congress could place such conditions on spending.