Texas AG Asks Court for Declaration of Anti-Sanctuary Law Legality

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a proactive lawsuit on Monday on Senate Bill (SB) 4 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The State is preempting legal challenges from illegal alien advocacy groups by asking the court of a declaratory judgment to confirm the law is constitutional. SB 4 is set to take effect on September 1, 2017.

The Attorney General’s office filed the lawsuit just one day after Governor Gregg Abbott signed SB 4 into law. The lawsuit targets Travis County, Texas, and its Sheriff Sally Hernandez, who have been openly hostile to immigration enforcement and impose sanctuary policies upon the county, which includes Austin, the state capital. Even before its passage, illegal alien advocacy groups vowed to challenge the measure in court and put the brakes on it. A declaration from the court that SB 4 is legal, however, would limit groups’ ability to postpone implementation of the law by filing frivolous challenges.

Specifically, SB 4 prohibits state and local entities from adopting, enforcing, or endorsing policies that prohibit or materially limit the enforcement of immigration laws. Public university and college campuses are explicitly included in these requirements. SB 4 also authorizes law enforcement to inquire into a person’s immigration status during a lawful investigation to a criminal offense.

To ensure officers comply with the law, SB 4 subjects law enforcement officials with criminal, Class A misdemeanor, charges if they do not comply with detainers sent by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, localities or colleges that defiantly impose sanctuary policies may be subject to fines of between $1,000 and $25,500 per day the policy is in place.

“SB 4 is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

Since taking office, Governor Abbott’s administration has taken strong stands to limit the fiscal and safety costs of illegal immigration to Texans. Enacting anti-sanctuary legislation is a vital component to the governor’s immigration enforcement priorities.

About Author


Dan is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s President after joining the organization in 1982. He has testified more than 50 times before Congress, and been cited in the media as "America's best-known immigration reformer." Dan has appeared on virtually every significant TV and radio news/talk program in America and, in addition to being a contributing editor to ImmigrationReform.com, has contributed commentaries to a vast number of print media outlets.


  1. avatar

    Even When Trump is Bi-Partisan in His Decisions

    Months later he’s accused on CNN of being a mean Fascist for doing what they liked a few months ago, a good example is the firing of Director Comey….now Comey is OK to the Dems? They play random Hollywood Acts staged on Media to deceive Americans…..that’s how establishment whiners work. Lies.

    Drain the Swamp!

  2. avatar

    There is an anti_Trump concert planned for June 3 at the US/Mexico border in San Diego, featuring musicians from the two countries and around the world. The theme is “Tear Down This Wall”. I wonder if anyone, including the media, will be noting that the wall, a double layer fence, was built during the Clinton administration and reinforced during the Obama administration.

    I guess that doesn’t fit the media spin though. CNN in particular is always denying that they have any kind of agenda, even though they passed debate questions to Hillary twice. They have a defamation lawsuit against them by a Florida pediatric heart doctor and hospital, which they have tried to have dismissed to no avail. Both the circuit judge in Florida and the appeals judge in Atlanta found that they published stories with a complete disregard for any facts that were contrary to their reporting. The Atlanta judge found that CNN acted “recklessly with regard to accuracy”.

  3. avatar


    The most controversial part of this law
    will probably be modified by the legislature
    or overturned by the courts.
    Local and state police should not ask for papers.
    It is not the job of these law-enforcement officers
    to enforce federal immigration laws.
    If ordinary police might ask about citizenship,
    would unauthorized foreign nationals ever call them?

    Traffic stops should not include questions
    about green cards or citizenship.

    Cooperation with federal immigration law
    should begin in JAIL or PRISON.
    Only suspects BOOKED INTO CUSTODY
    should have their citizenship documented.
    They will have their mug-shots taken.
    They will be fingerprinted.
    Their fingerprints will be compared with
    the database kept by the FBI.
    If they are wanted by any other level of law-enforcement,
    the fact that they are NOW IN CUSTODY should be shared.

    In short, the streets and highways
    should be safe from immigration enforcement
    —but not the PRISONS: