The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, signed a bill into a law Sunday that would oblige law enforcement to cooperate with immigration officials or face jail time.
The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, described the bill as "the worst racial profiling, anti-immigrant bill in the country."
Before signing the legislation over a five-minute Facebook live stream, Abbott said, "Texans expect us to keep them safe, and that is exactly what we are going to do by me signing this law." The law also prohibits the cities from calling themselves "sanctuary cities."
Police chiefs from two of the major cities in Texas, Houston, and Dallas called the measure a "burden" on the police force.
Many have said the move will be used as a tool to discriminate against Latin Americans and minorities.
Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement, "This racist and wrongheaded piece of legislation ignores our values, imperils our communities and sullies our reputation as a free and welcoming state."
"We will fight this assault in the courts, at the ballot box, and in the streets, if we have to," Burke added.
The law, which is slated to come into effect as of Sept. 1, has been widely condemned by the community organizations.
Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, MALDEF, called the law a "colossal blunder" and pointed out the law will further strain the relationship between the immigrant communities and the local law enforcement authorities. Saenz said the law will subject people to widespread racial profiling as it is designed to alienate "nearly half the state population."
Under the law, the cities, counties, and universities will have to divulge information regarding the immigration status, if asked. The local law enforcement officers will be able to enforce immigration law with more liberty. The officials can inquire about a person's immigration status during any type of legal detention, including traffic stops.
If the local law enforcement authorities police chiefs, county sheriffs, and constables violate the ban, the local jurisdictions will be charged up to US$25,000 for each day they are in violation.
On May 1, nearly 20 protesters were charged with criminal trespassing after over 100 protesters staged an hours-long sit-in at a state building denouncing state's bill against the "sanctuary cities."