Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez is clearing the air.
“Is Brownsville officially a sanctuary city” asked KVEO News Center 23’s Derick Garcia.
“No. It is not.” said Mayor Martinez while sitting in a conference room at his law office.
“And that’s officially, okay.”
Earlier this month a Mexican media outlet reported Brownsville is a sanctuary city.
“We enforce the laws we are not violating any laws” explained the position of law enforcement within his city.
Mayor Martinez said he spoke with Brownsville Chief of Police Orlando Rodriguez.
In Texas, communities are fearful of losing funding by officially or unofficially calling themselves a sanctuary city.
A sanctuary city is a city that provides shelter illegal immigrants and law enforcement agencies that do not enforce immigration laws.
Governor Greg Abbott sees sanctuary cities as a major problem in Texas.
Abbott is already pulling funds from counties, such as in Travis County.
Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s stance to not detain all unauthorized immigrants in her jail for federal authorities, prompted Gov. Abbott to cut significant funding to her county.
During the 85th Legislative session, Senate Bill 4 was cleared by the Senate.
This essentially gives power to the state to cut funding to cities, counties or agencies accepting state funds, not enforcing immigration laws.
With Brownsville being a border city with Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico fear of losing funds because of misunderstandings is real.
“Are we letting criminals out? No. Now from what I understand someone gets arrested, they [police] find out there’s a criminal record there and they’re detained” explained Martinez.
KVEO News Center 23 asked, Mayor Martinez, if the powers [lawmakers] in Austin were not penalizing sanctuary communities, would Brownsville be a sanctuary city?
“I think that would be up to the body of the city commission.” Said Martinez.
“And what we’re getting right now is this hammer looking over our shoulder…You take just wrong step and boy we’re going to hammer you, you know? We’re going to take your money away but we need all the resources we can get. I’m not going to say something that’s going to prejudice our community in anyway one way or the other and that’s all.” Explained Martinez.