The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) took little time in filing the first lawsuit to try to stop the Lone Star State’s recently signed anti-sanctuary jurisdiction bill. LULAC sued the State of Texas, its governor, and the state’s attorney general.
The mayor of the small Texas border city of El Cenizo joined with the organization whose stated mission is to “advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States.” A sheriff and a constable from an adjacent county are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
El Cenizo is in Webb County right on the Texas-Mexico Border. Its population is approximately 3,300 and is 99.2 percent Hispanic. The city has long considered itself “a safe haven” for illegal aliens. In 1999, city officials passed an ordinance which prohibits city employees from asking a person about their immigration status.
El Cenizo Mayor Raul L. Reyes, and Maverick County’s Sheriff Tom Schmerber and Constable (Pct. 3-1) Mario A. Hernandez are the named plaintiffs in the LULAC lawsuit against the State of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott (in his official capacity), and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Maverick County is adjacent to Webb County just northeast of the county.
“The League of United Latin American Citizens has filed suit against Texas Governor Gregg Abbott seeking to block implementation of SB 4 as a violation of multiple protections in the US Constitution,” stated LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “We believe it is unconstitutional for the State of Texas to attempt to coerce local law enforcement into becoming de facto federal immigration agents.”
A statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from LULAC provides:
“The complaint which was filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens against the State of Texas and key government officials seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from the courts to stop the state from discriminating against individuals based solely on the color of their skin. The complaint, which was the first to be filed by a civil rights organization in response to the signing of SB 4, maintains that SB 4 violates the U.S. Constitution. The statute seeks to extend local law enforcement into a field preempted by federal law. Specifically, SB 4 impermissibly extends immigration enforcement to local officials by forcing local government entities to cooperate with immigration enforcement efforts in a way that violates federal law both constitutionally and statutorily. In addition to the statute being unconstitutional, it is bad policy. SB 4 will promote distrust between local law enforcement and the community at large.”
Breitbart Texas reported in an exclusive interview with Texas Governor Greg Abbott that law enforcement and other officials who implement sanctuary policies and release criminal aliens with detainers will now be subject to the “stiffest penalties in America.” Governor Abbott made these comments immediately following his signing of the historic bill that not only effectively outlaws sanctuary jurisdictions, but provides for criminal penalties and removal from office if violated by law enforcement officials.
Abbott also strongly refuted the attempts of left-of-center media, legislators, law enforcement officials, and others that “The so-called controversial part of this law is what some label as the ‘show your papers’ component.” He explained:
“And what everyone seems to get wrong is they think that that provision was stricken down in the Arizona law. To the contrary, the provision in the Arizona law is stricter than the Texas law. The Arizona law required that law enforcement ASK for papers. The Texas law does not require it; it allows it so there is that one difference.”
“But despite that difference, the Arizona law was upheld by every U.S. Supreme Court justice, including the liberals.” “The so-called controversial part of this law has been ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court and upheld,” the governor emphasized.
The author of the bill, Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) said during a Q&A on the Senate Floor during final passage of the bill that police can already inquire about the immigration status of a person they detain. He said this bill doesn’t change anything in this regard and citizens and legal residents do not need “carry papers” to prove they are here legally.
As to criminal penalties for law enforcement officers that thumb their nose at the anti-sanctuary law after it becomes effective on September 1:
All law enforcement officers are going to be required to follow this law. If they refuse to follow this law, or if they adopt sanctuary city policies, they are subject now to the stiffest penalties in America for adopting sanctuary city policies – which includes jail time where sheriffs could wind up in the same jail they may be releasing inmates from who are the subject of ICE detainer requests.
“But these officials also are subject to a removal action,” Abbott advised, “and the counties or cities in which they operate are subject to very stiff fines.”
The law makes ignoring an immigration detainer a Class A misdemeanor, Breitbart Texas reported.
When asked about Travis County Sheriff “Sanctuary Sally” Hernandez and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the Texas governor had this to say during the interview: “If they don’t change their policies, if they continue to handle detainers on a case-by-case basis that means they will be in violation of this law and subject to its penalties.”
The lawsuit filed in San Antonio in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas has been assigned to Chief Judge Orlando L. Garcia. Judge Garcia has ruled against Texas in redistricting lawsuits brought against the state.
Interestingly, the federal complaint (below) bears the name “Bexar County Constable Pct. 1 Ruben C. Tejeda” as a plaintiff but it has been manually scratched-out.
The governor of Texas believes this legislation will protect its citizens and free them from danger. He clarified:
“This law makes Texans safer because it prevents the types of policies that California has that lead to the tragic murder of Kate Steinle. It prevents the types of policies that were adopted by the Travis County sheriff who had policies that release back out on the street, people who are either accused of, or even convicted of, very dangerous crimes and so Texas is going to be a safer place by ensuring that law enforcement will work with federal officials to ensure that we keep behind bars, and remove from this country, those who pose a danger to our fellow Americans.”