AUSTIN, Texas – The city of Austin joined San Antonio Friday in a lawsuit against the state of Texas over the sanctuary cities ban.
"Elected leaders across the state are following the leadership of community members who have called for a Summer of Resistance against the immoral and unconstitutional SB 4," Austin City Council Member Greg Casar said. "Today, Austin is proud to join San Antonio, El Paso, and El Cenizo in challenging SB 4 in court for threatening the safety and constitutional rights of our community."
Gov. Greg Abbott last month signed Senate Bill 4 into law, which allows law enforcement officers to ask someone they've detained about their immigration status. Abbott said the law is a matter of public interest, which Casar rejects.
"This law never had anything to do with public safety. I'll say that again. It has nothing to do with public safety in this law," Casar said. "As a matter of fact, this law threatens our residents' public safety and our constitutional rights under the U.S. Bill of Rights."
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said he questions the need to ask for someone who is detained for their immigration status.
"Why would a law enforcement officer here in the city of Austin ask someone that question?" he said.
Adler said he's concerned about the possibility of racial profiling, even though there are state and federal laws against it.
"Some officers in and around the state may actually end up asking that question of people who are brown," he said. "I think it reasonable to believe that someone who looks like me probably doesn't get stopped and asked about my immigration status."
Standing in solidarity with Austin leaders during their announcement was the Workers Defense Project, one of the co-plaintiffs in the San Antonio lawsuit.
The incident provoked a shoving match between State Rep. Matt Rinaldi and Latino lawmakers who said he approached them.
Jose Garza of the Workers Defense Project said when Abbott enacted SB 4, "He picked a fight with thousands of working families and immigrant families in the state of Texas, and that's not a fight he's going to win."
San Antonio filed the lawsuit Thursday. El Paso County and the community of El Cenizo have filed their own lawsuits.
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