February 2, 2017

San Antonio, TX - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday during his State of the State address that he will ban so-called “sanctuary cities,” and withhold funding from those jurisdictions that decline to engage in federal immigration enforcement.

Additionally, the governor reiterated his strong support for SB 4, a proposal to impose sanctions against any jurisdictions or elected officials that refuse to honor federal immigration detainer requests, even though federal courts have ruled that such detainers exceed the government’s limited warrantless arrest authority.

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) condemns the governor’s misguided efforts to unilaterally strip cities, counties and local law enforcement agencies of their lawful authority to determine public policies, including those involving public safety.

Please attribute the following statement to MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel Marisa Bono:

“Gov. Abbott’s attempt to punish cities and unseat elected officials because he disagrees with their local policy decisions is reckless and irresponsible. His threats demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of separation of powers and of sound public policy.

To our knowledge, no cities or officials are violating state or federal laws, and instead are using their discretion as allowed by the law to prioritize their resources and maintain public health and safety. If anything, they understand that forcing local authorities to act as immigration agents severely undermines public safety.

Gov. Abbott should stop playing police officer and defer to those who are actually in the trenches and have real experience. Local law enforcement across the state has repeatedly stated that effective police work requires the cooperation of all residents, regardless of immigration status. That cooperation is undermined, however, when politicians try to dictate policies that target individuals based on immigration status.

Moreover, Gov. Abbott’s threat to remove elected officials who disagree with him is nothing short of unconstitutional McCarthyism. He has no right to undo the will of Texas voters.”

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund