The League of United Latin American Citizens filed the first of what is expected to be several challenges of Senate Bill 4, the so-called Texas "Sanctuary Cities ban, on behalf of a small town near the Mexican border.
But even before that was filed, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) took a preemptive strike against any lawsuit, asking a court to uphold the constitutionality of the law.
Paxton said Tuesday he decided to do it before there was a legal challenge to avoid dragging the issue out and fighting lawsuits all over the state.
“There have been different entities out talking about suing the state of Texas over this issue. Instead of having this drag out for a long time, instead of having suits all over the state, consolidate in one place. Get it done. We are confident this is Constitutional. We are ready to go,” said Paxton.
Since the bill was signed Sunday by Gov. Greg Abbott (R), it has been blasted by some lawmakers, including Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (D), who referred to it as a “show me your papers law."
When asked if Texans should be concerned about traffic stops, Paxton said no because the law is designed to protect citizens.
“No. They should be, I think, happy, because now they have a law in place that will protect them from illegals who have committed crime,” he added.
Besides giving police officers the authority to asked about immigration status during detainments, the law also says local law enforcement must comply with federal requests to hold criminals for deportation.
There have been protests in Austin over the law and the ACLU has also threatened legal action. Tuesday, the group put out a “travel advisory” for Texas, telling travelers they could encounter illegal arrests and profiling if they risk traveling to the Lone Star State.
Paxton shot back with a tweet of his own, saying if you are not breaking the law you have nothing to worry about.
“I would not be concerned about being in Texas. This is a law that the legislature has reasonably passed that basically says cities, counties cannot prohibit law enforcement from asking about immigration status. It is similar to what Arizona passed, although the Arizona law required that they ask. In this case, it just leaves the discretion up to law enforcement. They are not required to ask but they can,” Paxton added.
Paxton said he is very confident about this legal action.