(AP) — AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Republicans were poised Wednesday to take a big step toward banning “sanctuary cities” in their state, debating a bill through which police chiefs and sheriffs could even be jailed for not cooperating fully with federal immigration authorities.
Although Democrats don’t have the votes in the Republican-controlled Legislature to stop the bill from going to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who made such a ban a priority, they vowed to fight it at every step, promising hours of emotionally charged debate on Wednesday before the Texas House votes.
Under the bill, the state could withhold funding from local governments for acting as sanctuary cities, even as the Trump administration’s efforts to do so nationally have hit roadblocks. Other Republican-controlled states have pushed for similar polices in recent years, just as more liberal ones have done the opposite. But Texas would be the first in which police chiefs and sheriffs could be jailed for not helping enforce immigration law. They could also lose their jobs.