On Tuesday, May 9th, the town of El Cenizo, the County of Maverick and the League of United Latin American Citizens filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas, saying that the recently passed SB 4 law is marred by a “conscious and blatant disregard for federal law and constitutional protections.” It also argues that the law fails to adequately define a “sanctuary” district, making it impossible to comply with its stipulations.
SB 4, also known as the “Show Me Your Papers” law, states that police must arrest anyone they encounter who they know has a administrative detainer request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), even though the detainers are not court orders and are not mandatory under federal law. The law was signed by Texas’ governor Greg Abbott on Sunday, May 7th but will not go into effect until September 1st, 2017. “The State of Texas acts unconstitutionally when it acts to compel and coerce its local government and officials to violate federal law,” the lawsuit says. Other jurisdictions in Texas are also looking to sue the state over SB 4.
El Cenizo, a town in the Rio Grande Valley, has a high Hispanic population and identifies as a “sanctuary city.” It cites that their policies help foster trust between local law enforcement and the immigrant community, making the city as a whole safer. There are additional benefits to adopting “sanctuary” policies. A report released in January 2017 by the Center for American Progress and the National Immigration Law Center found that there were lower crime rates, poverty rates, and unemployment rates in sanctuary counties than in non-sanctuary counties.
This law goes deeper that immigration. It jeopardize the civil rights of millions of Texans, nearly half of whom are Hispanic and will lead to gross, widespread racial profiling legalizing it under the guise of immigration reform. This law will target people because of who they are, what they look like or where they come from. It is dangerous and deeply un-American.