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SAPD Chief Blasts Sanctuary Cities Bill Set To Become Law

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
SAPD Chief William McManus address reporters following the House's passage of the sanctuary cities bill.

San Antonio Police William McManus is blasting Santuary Cities legislation that has passed both the Texas Senate and House.  

The House gave its final approval Thursday to bill that could jail or fine local law enforcement if they refuse to comply with federal immigration detainers.

Chief McManus says the bill would also allow officers to ask someone's immigration status if the officer chooses to do so.

“Part of the disturbing part of this bill is that it usurps the authority of the police chief from preventing that from happening. It takes away that authority. I don’t understand how the state can all of a sudden take over that part of a chief’s responsibility,” he said.

McManus has testified against sanctuary cities legislation in Austin this session and said on Thursday it elevates the risk for racial profiling.

“In order for me to identify someone who I don’t believe is from here, it’s either skin color, language, or accent, and in order to do that I’m profiling.”

Opponents of the bill have said it would prevent people from reporting crimes for fear of deportation. Supporters say eliminating so-called sanctuary cities would improve public safety from violent crimes.

When asked whether San Antonio would take legal action against the legislation if Governor Abbott signs it into law, McManus said it would be up to the city.