Lawsuits Fly over Sanctuary Cities in Texas

Heading for court, El Paso, Austin, San Antonio and other Texas cities are joining the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) in suing the state over Senate Bill 4, the anti-sanctuary law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

The move follows a lawsuit filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and two border jurisdictions: Maverick County (where the jobless rate is 10 percent and the major industry is an Indian casino) and the tiny town of El Cenizo (where many residents are illegal).

Opponents of SB4 call it the “show-us-your-papers” law. Abbott says it’s nothing of the sort.

There is no requirement to show papers,” he told NBC News. “It does require sheriffs to honor ICE detainers.”

“Unless you’ve committed a crime and are wanted by the federal government, you have nothing to fear,” the Republican governor said. (Watch video here.)

Abbott said 142 charged suspects on requested immigration detainers were released by the Travis County jail in Austin during a one-week period earlier this year.

On May 7, the state of Texas sued Travis County, charging officials there with being “publicly hostile to cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.”

The toughest anti-sanctuary law in the nation, SB4 imposes civil penalties on local officials who fail to cooperate with immigration authorities.

 RELATED: Sanctuary is bad policy

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.”


San Antonio – which has not officially declared itself a sanctuary city but behaves as one – joined the legal fracas last week and dug into taxpayers’ pockets to provide $150,000 in legal aid to illegal immigrants there. The City Council acted behind closed doors, with no public hearing.

“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 U.S. illegally.

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.

 San Antonio activist George Rodriguez, a former LULAC member, was among those perplexed by the city’s lurch into litigation.

“Mayor Ivy Taylor and other city leaders claim that San Antonio, which has not officially been declared a sanctuary city. If so, why join a lawsuit over a law that does not affect the city?” he asked.

“The money they’re spending on legal fights could be better used for fixing streets and sidewalks.”


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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar
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  2. avatar

    Sanctuary Cities are nothing more than holding pens for prey for Illegal Alien Criminals. Never mentioned is the existence of the U Visa which protects Illegal Aliens who report or are a victim of crime. I wonder why?
    U.S.Sanctuary Bills in Maryland Faced a Surprise Foe: Legal Immigrants

    “The failure of the sanctuary bills in Maryland reveals a potentially troublesome fissure for Democrats as they rush to defy Mr. Trump. Their party has staked out an activist position built around protecting undocumented immigrants. But it is one that has alienated many who might have been expected to support it.”

    Obama administration has admitted that Sanctuary Cities are a problem:

    But, within the above letter, doesn’t really address what the Obama administration will actually do about it to protect US Citizens:

    IGS poll: Californians oppose sanctuary city policies

    “Californians strongly oppose “sanctuary city” policies under which local authorities ignore federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants who have been arrested but are about to be released, according to a new poll released today by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at UC Berkeley.”

  3. avatar

    Anyone That Breaks Laws on the Books

    And doesn’t like the laws, get government to change the laws:
    otherwise face the consequences in America. Go back to your Motherlands if you don’t like our immigration laws.

  4. avatar

    All the liberal outrage over Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris treaty ignores a lot of things. First, this was something that Obama alone got us into. It was not approved by Congress and was just the usual stick it to America scenario. Second, we were the only country required to make actual cuts in green house gases. I saw a piece on the news that China, one of the biggest polluters, was sticking with the agreement. No wonder. It requires nothing from them. In fact, they can increase greenhouse gases for the next 13 years. India is also given another pass and developed countries have to give them billions in aid.

    The whole thing is a charade. It gives the impression of doing something while allowing almost every other country to make only the smallest of concessions. But the biggest hypocrisy is that liberals refuse to acknowledge that whatever gains we make in controlling greenhouse gases as a nation are offset by immigration-driven population growth of 25 to 30 million people per decade.

    It’s like when open borders supporter Ted Kennedy opposed the installation of green energy wind turbines off the Massachusetts coast because they were unsightly. Never mind that his immigration act of 1965 has seen our population grow another 130 million people mostly because of immigration, something he denied at the time would happen.

  5. avatar
    cynthia curran on

    Something I noticed positive about Texas lately. I think illegal immigrants are leaving there, why. Rents in the greater Houston area have dropped compared to Orange County Ca. Houston is in a state pushing to get rid of illegal immigrants while the OC is in a state doing the opposite. Some claim that rent dropped in Houston since housing is cheaper and you can buy a tract house more easier than Orange County. Also, that Houston built more apartments than Orange County, but I think its because the illegal immigrant population has left more Also, both places have see wages go up on construction and Leisure and Hospality which means that Trump’s border control is willing less poor workers coming in to work..