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The Source: Should San Antonio Become A Sanctuary City?

Richard Morgan

Should San Antonio become a “Sanctuary City?” Dallas, Houston and Austin are already considered sanctuary cities and there’s a movement growing in San Antonio to push for policy changes that would give the Alamo City that designation. And that’s something Governor Greg Abbott would oppose. He and other Republican leaders are calling for a law to ban sanctuary cities in Texas.

There is no legal definition for “Sanctuary City” but it is generally accepted that it’s a city with a policy that doesn’t required police officers to ask people they encounter or arrest for proof of citizenship and will accept forms of identification from other countries. Also a trait of a sanctuary city is that the county jail doesn’t turn over every undocumented inmate to immigration officials for deportation.

Governor Abbott says sanctuary cities make Texas less safe and has singled out Dallas County Sherriff Lupe Valdez for her selective cooperation with federal immigration officials on a case-by-case basis. She says she is following federal procedure in only notifying ICE about inmates who were convicted of a violence crime.

Speaking on the TPR’s Source on Tuesday Bexar County Susan Pamerleau said she is following the law in notifying ICE about all inmates at the Bexar County Jail, whether they have been convicted of a crime or not, and she leaves it up to ICE to decide who to deport.

Bexar County Democratic Chairman Manuel Medina said even under the law Pamerleau has the ability to be more flexible about which inmates she turns over to ICE. He is calling for San Antonio to become a full-fledged Sanctuary City.   


Bexar Co. Sheriff Susan Pamerleau

Manuel Medina, chairman of the Bexar county democrats

Carolina Canizales, deportation defense coordinator at United We Dream

State Sen. Konni Burton (R)

Cal Jillson, professor of political science at SMU

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi