Austin joins SA in lawsuit to sanctuary cities ban

Austin formally sues state over 'sanctuary cities' ban SB 4

The law, which would go into effect September 1 if it passes legal hurdles, requires city and county law enforcement to comply with all requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold people suspected of being in the country illegally.

Additionally, I believe that any decision to join this lawsuit should be made in coordination with other major Texas cities, which is why I have consulted with Mayors Adler (Austin), Turner (Houston) and Rawlings (Dallas). "This law will overwhelm police resources by expecting them to enforce federal immigration laws, and it will also discourage people from reporting crimes that can be a threat to their safety". "One of the main impetuses behind the city filing suit is the keen and earnest desire to keep this community safe". But attempts to crack down on "sanctuary cities" have met resistance legally. And other Texas cities could join the litigation. Despite an estimated 1.2 million undocumented immigrants, the highest number in the United States after California, Abbott's government has long sought to crack down on immigration. Shortly after its signing, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a travel warning for the state of Texas. And we are confident that the courts will show it to be unconstitutional.

While preparing its lawsuit against Texas, MALDEF stated, apparently without irony: "We hope that both the governor and the attorney general will seek treatment for an apparent problem with premature litigation".

As the legal challenges to SB 4 have rolled in, a consensus of arguments against the law is beginning to emerge.

"Make no mistake about it, when Governor Abbott signed SB4 he picked a fight with thousands of working families and immigrant families here in the state of Texas and that is not a fight he is going to win", said Jose Garza with the Workers Defense Project. Texas' suit singles out Austin in particular, where Sheriff Sally Hernandez has clashed repeatedly with Abbott over immigration issues.

So far, El Paso, San Antonio and Austin are all suing the state - even the small border town of El Cenizo. It would also remove public officials who endorse policies contrary to SB 4's provisions. El Paso County similarly filed an anti-SB4 challenge two weeks after the law was signed.

The Austin filing also states that local policing could suffer.

"Although no formal action has been taken, I support joining the Mexican American Legal and Defense Educational Fund in a lawsuit against Senate Bill 4 because it is vital that we maintain trust between communities of immigrants and local law enforcement". As evidence, they point to the final day of the the 85th legislative session, when GOP state Rep. Matt Rinaldi reported protestors who'd gathered in the Texas Capitol to immigration officials.

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