Government officials and community activists from across the state gathered outside the Texas Capitol on Tuesday to voice support for taking legal action to stop the so-called “sanctuary cities" law.
Senate Bill 4, which goes into effect Sept. 1, allows officers to question the immigration status of people they detain. It would also punish law enforcement agencies that don’t comply with federal immigration detainer requests.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law May 7. The next day, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit, asking a federal court to declare the law constitutional. The lawsuit named Austin City Council Member Greg Casar and several other Austin and Travis County government officials as defendants.
“The governor and the other cynical supporters of SB 4 know this law has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with scapegoating immigrants for their political gain,” Casar said at the demonstration Tuesday. “But we’re sending a strong message today, alongside community organizations, which is, instead of caving in, the governor is going to get a summer of resistance.”
Austin City Council is set to vote Thursday on a resolution related to SB 4. Casar said approving this measure would allow the city to take legal action even if Paxton's lawsuit is dismissed.
Other Texas cities and counties have already sued over the law. It’s unclear whether Austin will join an existing lawsuit or take alternative legal action.