Grassroots coalition will take on sanctuary cities ban

Bexar County GOP chair: 'This is just political baloney'

SAN ANTONIO – Nearly everyone Thursday announcing the newly formed Pro-Immigrant Coalition are said to have defended immigrant rights on their own.

But now with Senate Bill 4 enacted into law, Rebecca Flores, who helped organize the coalition, said, “I think we need to speak with one voice and really do start making a huge pushback.”

“This is just political baloney that these organizations like to feel they’re teaming up,” said Robert Stovall, chair of the Bexar County Republican Party.

Unlike the concerns of mounting opposition to the sanctuary cities ban, Stovall said, “When we live in the city of San Antonio, we should feel that San Antonio is our sanctuary for citizens and not an unsafe place.”

Stovall said the ban will hold local governments accountable for not honoring immigration detainers on murderers, rapists and other serious criminals. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement already has access to the Bexar County Jail.

The legal, religious and civil rights groups forming the coalition have said undocumented immigrants could be deported for a broken tail light or other minor infractions if they are asked about their legal status in the U.S.

Flores said the Pro-Immigrant Coalition wants to help educate the undocumented community in case any legal challenges fail to stop the ban.

“If we get to that point, we want people to be prepared for whatever might come,” Flores said.

She said people already legally in the U.S. could be subjected to racial profiling.

“We’ve lived here for centuries and then somebody has the audacity because of the color of our skin to ask us for our papers? That’s ridiculous,” Flores said.

Stovall said he believes local law enforcement know better than that by now.

“It depends on how they feel. You get somebody who’s not feeling good, ‘Okay, show me your papers,’” Flores said.

The Bexar County Republican Party chair said he believes most citizens support the ban.

“It’s outrageous that people want to make this into an issue that it’s not,” Stovall said.

But that could be a matter for the courts to decide by Sept. 1 when the ban is supposed to take effect.


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About the Author:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.