A U.S. district judge struck down a lawsuit Wednesday filed by
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to enforce the state’s
recently-passed ban on sanctuary cities.
The Attorney General filed the suit in anticipation of push back
after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed the sanctuary city ban
in May. While Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday,
it is not an end to the issue, as another
lawsuit filed in June by the city of San Antonio will
now take center stage on the question of the ban’s
constitutionality, The Texas Tribune reported
“We were first to file a lawsuit concerning SB 4, filed this case
in the only proper court, and moved quickly to consolidate other
lawsuits against SB 4 in Austin,” Paxton said in a statement.
“The health, safety, and welfare of Texans is not negotiable.
We’re disappointed with the court’s ruling and look forward to
pressing our winning arguments in the San Antonio cases and
beyond (if necessary) on this undoubtedly constitutional law.”
Spark’s ruling essentially determines that the question of the
ban’s constitutionality will be decided by San Antonio’s lawsuit
rather than the state government’s. But the question being
considered is the same: whether cities have the right to direct
local officers against working with federal immigration
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia presides over the cities’
lawsuit. He held a seven-hour hearing June 26, but has yet to
issue a ruling.
San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldana announced the city’s
lawsuit without a vote from the city council in June, and a slew
of other Texas sanctuary cities have joined the lawsuit since.
Saldana, who has praised his father for immigrating to the U.S.
illegally, filed the suit with the Mexican
American Legal Defense And Education Fund (MALDEF).
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.
But Texas argued to Garcia that San Antonio’s case should be
thrown out and law allowed to stand.
“There is an ongoing debate in the country about federal
immigration law,” Assistant Attorney General Darren McCarty told
Garcia in court. “That is a healthy and appropriate debate, and
it should be decided in legislatures and Congress. Where it is
not appropriate to decide it — respectfully, your honor — is in
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