SB 4

85(R) - 2017
Senate State Affairs
House State Affairs
Senate State Affairs
House State Affairs
Law Enforcement

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Charles Perry


Paul Bettencourt
Brian Birdwell
Donna Campbell
Kelly Hancock
Charles Schwertner


Charlie Geren


Paul Workman

Bill Caption

Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of state and federal laws governing immigration and to the duties of law enforcement agencies concerning certain arrested persons.

Fiscal Notes

From the LBB: No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated. There could be a fiscal impact to local governmental entities depending on if the entity has such rules, ordinances, or policies relating to provisions in the bill, the number of complaints filed by individuals and the number of complaints investigated and pursued by the Attorney General.

Bill Analysis

SB 4 would prevent local entities from passing laws that interfere with the enforcement of federal immigration laws. It specifically prohibits local entities from passing policies that discourage or prohibit local officials from inquiring into the immigration status of a person who is lawfully detained or under arrest. Local entities would be specifically prohibited from discouraging or prohibiting information sharing with state and federal immigration agencies. In addition, local entities would be required to cooperate with federal immigration officers in municipal and county jails. Local entities would be required to comply, honor, and fulfill detainer requests made by the federal government.


SB 4 specifies that peace officers may not stop a motor vehicle or conduct a search of a business or residence solely to enforce federal immigration laws, unless said officers are acting at the request of or aiding federal authorities. It also explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, language, or national origin while enforcing federal immigration laws. 


If an arrested person is unable to provide proof of their lawful presence, after no later than 48 hours the local agency must review any information from the federal Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). If the PEP reveals that the individual is unlawfully present in the United States, then the local agency must notify the Judge authorized to grant or deny the individual’s bail. The individual must have their unauthorized legal status recorded in their case file.


SB 4 would also establish a complaint process by which any person, including the federal government, can file a complaint with the attorney general if they can provide evidence that a local entity violated the provisions outlined in the bill. As part of the complaint process the attorney general would be given the authority to investigate and take action against the entity if found to be in violation of the established provisions, including notifying the entity of the violation and the withholding of state funds. Local entities may be held liable for damages resulting from a felony committed by a person, who was released against ICE’s request, within ten years of being wrongfully released by the local entity. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

Immigration policy is by and large a constitutional responsibility of the federal government, yet is one that cannot be fully implemented without the help of state and local governments. The rule of law is a hallmark of civil society and a pillar of our form of government. In our description of our limited government liberty principle we say "Our laws should be few, necessary, fair, and just." Controlling our borders and removing people who are not lawfully in our country is a basic duty of government which fits within that description. To the extent that local governments are flouting the rule of law by purposely making it more difficult for the federal government to carry out its constitutional and lawful duties to protect our nation, it is the responsibility of the state to intervene and correct that wrong. For its role in promoting limited government, we support SB 4.

Organizations Supporting

Republican Party of Texas
Sheriffs' Association of Texas

Organizations Opposed

American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops
Workers Defense Project