City Of Austin Joins San Antonio In Lawsuit Against 'Sanctuary Cities' Law

But while laws are in effect, they must be enforced. The law requires local government and law enforcement to follow all federal immigration laws and detainer requests, putting in place criminal penalties if anyone breaks the new law. It would also remove public officials who endorse policies contrary to SB 4's provisions.

"Individual groups and individual people who are opposed to the sanctuary cities legislation can pool their resources", he says.

The City of San Antonio is suing the state of Texas to stop the implementation of the newly passed sanctuary cities ban.

"Make no mistake about it, Governor Greg Abbott picked a fight with Texas families when he signed SB 4", said Jose Garza of Workers Defense Project, during a press call on June 1.

"We fought Senate Bill 4 at the Legislature, and now we will fight it in the courtroom", Councilman Rey Saldaña said later, after praising his father for entering the USA illegally.

The central challenge in both Austin and San Antonio's filings has been against the state's ability to create immigration laws, a power the U.S. Constitution reserves for the federal government in part so foreign governments don't end up dealing with a patchwork of immigration laws.

"The case that's filed this evening is the only appropriate venue to determine the constitutionality of SB 4", he said.

The lawsuit calls the law discriminatory and alleges it will lead to racial profiling.

Along with the immigrant-heavy cities of Houston, El Paso, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin, San Antonio carries among the highest municipal debt in the nation. "One of the main impetuses behind the city filing suit is the keen and earnest desire to keep this community safe".

"We want our day in court because for far too long the Texas Legislature has been playing political football with the safety of our city and now we get to move to a different forum", Adler said. "That question of so-called "legislative intent" is now at the heart of another federal court battle, this time over Texas" new immigration law, Senate Bill 4, which will extend the reach of federal immigration enforcement to local police departments. "At the Austin Independent School District, students have missed class due to fears that ICE agents will capture undocumented residents on the way to or from school".

Austin City Councilman Greg Casar said he supports the lawsuit and the families of the people the sanctuary cities ban affects.

Governor Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are named as defendants. City attorneys are now asking a federal judge to toss out that suit on a handful of legal grounds.

"The result of the threatened implementation of SB 4 has been a breakdown in public trust, as affected individuals feel they can not contact municipal and nongovernmental agencies for fear of immigration enforcement", Austin's suit said.

Other city officials are less rebellious, however.

  • Joanne Flowers