The City of San Antonio filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas Thursday over a recent bill signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott banning sanctuary cities.
The lawsuit alleges the unconstitutionality of SB4, a law that prohibits city governments from shirking federal immigration law by becoming sanctuary cities, according Fox San Antonio. The Mexican American Legal Defense And Education Fund (MALDEF) filed the suit on behalf of San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldana, who announced the lawsuit without a vote from the city council.
“The city in its entire 300-year history has never sued the state of Texas over anything,” City Councilman Joe Krier told Fox. “I am opposed to suing the state over this particular issue, but I am particularly opposed without a vote of the council.”
Saldana, who has praised his father for entering the U.S. illegally, argues that SB4 illegally strips away the city’s control of its police department by requiring law enforcement officers to enforce federal law. A MALDEF spokesperson called the law “hateful” and “misguided,” arguing the city’s “loss of control” over its police department would result in residents being asked about their immigration status, which MALDEF says violates the 14th Amendment. (RELATED: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Signs Bill Banning Sanctuary Cities)
City Councilman Robert Treviño issued a statement in support of the suit.
“When bad legislation is forced upon the people against their will, municipalities and local elected officials must intercede on behalf of their respective constituencies,” he said in reference to a law passed by the elected legislators and signed by the governor.
Other city officials are less rebellious, however. San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor called the lawsuit premature, noting that San Antonio was the first city to join the litigation, despite others being invited. However, the cities of El Cenizo and El Paso joined the lawsuit since Thursday, and Austin is expected to do the same soon.
Gov. Abbott is ready for a fight, however, as the state issued its own lawsuits against Austin and MALDEF immediately after the passage of SB4 last month, calling them “hostile” to federal law enforcement.
Abbott pointed out in a interview with NBC that the law only requires sheriffs to comply with existing federal law and cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
“Unless you’ve committed a crime and are wanted by the federal government, you have nothing to fear,” Abbott said.
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