Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that bans sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State.
Abbott designated the ban an emergency item at the start of the year, and signed the bill into law just four days after it was approved by both chambers of the Legislature.
The Legislature has been attempting to pass the bill since 2011.
“Texans expect us to keep them safe, and that is exactly what we are going to do by me signing this law,” said Abbott on a Facebook Live stream of the signing.
The ban will go into effect September 1.
The legislation bans cities, universities and counties from prohibiting law enforcement from enforcing immigration law and inquiring about immigration status. Police chiefs, constables and county sheriffs face a criminal charge for violating the ban. Local jurisdictions may also face a fine of up to $25,000 for each day they violate the ban.
The new law also gives law enforcement the right to inquire about immigration status during any form of legal detention, including routine traffic stops.
Appointed and elected officials may be removed from their position if they violate the ban.
Critics say the law is a “colossal blunder.”
“MALDEF will do its level best, in court and out, to restore Texas, the state where MALDEF was founded, to its greater glory, and to help Texas overcome ‘Abbott’s Folly,'” said Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).
Saenz said the law alienates half of the state’s population and undermines voters’ rights .
Abbott contends that the bill’s key provisions have already been tested by the U.S. Supreme Court, but experts say some parts of the law are likely to face legal challenges.
“Citizens expect law enforcement to enforce the law, and citizens deserve lawbreakers to face legal consequences,” said Abbott.