Grassroots Group Pushing Fort Worth to Join Lawsuit Against Sanctuary Cities Law

A grassroots group is coming together in an effort to convince the city of Fort Worth to join Dallas and other Texas cities in a lawsuit against the new sanctuary cities law. But right now, city leaders aren't biting.

It's as debated and as divisive as any issue in Texas: whether it's right for local law enforcement to question the immigration status of anyone they arrest under a new state law known as SB 4.

But while Dallas dives in, for now Fort Worth is staying out of the fray.

"We're a diverse, compassionate, caring city but we do follow federal immigration law and we will continue," Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said Tuesday.

Now a broad group of community activists called "United Fort Worth" is pushing the city to join Dallas, San Antonio and Austin in suing to block the law from taking effect Sept. 1, saying it violates Constitutional protections.

"This is an economic development issue, it's an education issue, it's a quality of life issue," said Mindia Whittier, of United Fort Worth.

Local business leaders – like the owners of the popular Salsa Limon restaurants – are worried that if Fort Worth doesn't protest the legislation, it could slow progress in the city’s booming business community.

"If we want to be a progressive, growing city and be attractive around the country as has happened until now, we can't allow bills like this to pass in our city," said Salsa Limon owner Ramiro Ramirez.

United Fort Worth wants the city council to put this on its agenda to at least open a dialogue.

But many on the council want to leave state politics in Austin.

"For me at the city level, it's about potholes and police patrols and not local politics," said City Councilman Cary Moon.

United Fort Worth will hold a kick-off event outside city hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday to start promoting the group's agenda. They're also hosting a day of action on Aug. 1 to bring attention to this issue one month before the law takes effect.

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