The Status of Sanctuary Cities in Texas

sanctuary cities

What are sanctuary cities? They’re municipalities that offer “refuge” to illegal immigrants in certain situations. Those situations can vary from city to city.

Sanctuary can mean a number of things, including:

  • Not reporting illegal immigrants to the feds for minor offenses
  • Not asking questions related to immigration status
  • Not housing people in jail after they’ve made bond just because the feds ask them to

As you can see, there are many reasons why the media might say that a city is providing “sanctuary.” Understanding what it means to be a sanctuary city can be difficult.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide. Hopefully, it’ll help you understand what sanctuary cities are and why this topic is important.

What’s currently happening with sanctuary cities in Texas?

Federal and state governments are threatening to pull funding from any municipality considered a “sanctuary city.”

According to Cis. org, there are two sanctuary cities in Texas–Dallas and Austin.

Governor Gregg Abbott recently spoke out against sanctuary cities. He is in favor of a bill that would withhold funding for any Texas city that does not cooperate with federal immigration.

The Texas House passed a bill that could it make it legal for law enforcement officials to require proof of legal residence. The nature of the interaction wouldn’t matter. For example, law enforcement could require such proof during routine traffic stops.

The bill passed 94 votes to 53 and is on its way to the Senate.

If signed into law, this bill would join other immigration-focused laws, such as Smuggling of Persons, born of House Bill 11. That law punishes anyone caught harboring illegal residents.

What does each side say?

There are strong opinions on both sides of the aisle. Cities like Austin and Dallas join others nationwide to provide fuel for a new aspect of the illegal immigration debate.

Let’s take a moment to break down the main reasons each side has for either supporting or not supporting these sanctuaries.


The idea behind the sanctuary city is to avoid uprooting someone’s life because of a minor accusation.

It’s not just about immigration and deportation, though. It’s also about civil liberties and preventing jails from profiting off of the federal government. And it’s also about the unfairness of requiring cities to foot the bill for the federal government.

Furthermore, there are constitutional concerns regarding local municipalities and counties enforcing federal civil immigration law.


The reasons frequently referenced by those who identify with this side of the issue include:

  • They may feel that illegal immigrants are more likely to commit crimes.
  • They may feel that illegal immigrants ought to be deported because they are in the United States illegally.
  • They may feel that illegal immigrants strain municipal, state, and federal funding.
  • They may feel it wrong for a municipality to refuse to cooperate with the federal government.

When the government accuses you of a crime, there are many ways in which your life might be changed that go beyond immigration. And often, trying to clear your record after a false accusation does not fix all the issues that can arise.

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The Status of Sanctuary Cities in Texas – The Dallas Lawyer