AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A bill to ban sanctuary cities is now headed to the desk of Governor Greg Abbott.
The measure would force college officials to comply with ICE requests to hold students. Erick Gutierrez is a student at West Texas A&M University who is here on a work visa. He says he would consider continuing his education online or at a lower-profile institution if the sanctuary cities bill passes.
"This is just going to reduce that rate of people wanting to go to a college and further their education, just because they're afraid of being persecuted," said Gutierrez.
Senate Bill 4 would also allow police to ask any detained person their immigration status, even at traffic stops. Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said his office normally finds out a person is in the country illegally when they are arrested for a different offense. He also says many Amarillo residents could be affected by this bill.
"I think that there will probably be a lot of people concerned with something like this because we have a lot of migrant workers here and we have a lot of refugees here," said Thomas. He continued saying, "We also have a lot that come here because they know there's a lot of opportunity here in Amarillo."
On the other hand, Whittenburg Law Firm Attorney David Strange believes nothing would change if this bill is signed into law. He says immigration is a civil violation, and unless there's a criminal charge, authorities have no probable cause.
"You have huge Fourth Amendment issues, you've got Tenth Amendment issues, so what I think is eventually going to happen with this Senate Bill 4, is it's going to lead to lawsuits," said Strange.
He continued, saying, "It's going to cost the state of Texas a lot of money when the counties are already, largely, abiding by the detainers anyway."
SB4 could be signed into law as early as today.