Why Texas Is Already Suing Over The Constitutionality Of New ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Law

In a surprising move, the first lawsuit over the new law created with SB4 was filed by the State of Texas.

By Rhonda FanningMay 9, 2017 7:25 am

Governor Greg Abbott signed SB4 into law Sunday. It was expected that the measure regulating so-called ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ would prompt lawsuits. But it surprised many that the first to file a suit was Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Paxton is asking a federal court to declare the law constitutional. The lawsuit is against Travis County, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and members of the Austin City Council.

The move appears to be a pre-emptive strike against challenges to the law. The first challenge was filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Texas A&M Law Professor Lynne Rambo talks with the Standard about what Texans should expect on September 1 – when the law is scheduled to go into effect.

“The assumption of the state in filing the suit is that people are going to complain that SB4 violates the Fourth Amendment because it requires the states to participate in ICE detainers which they believe are unreasonable seizures – that’s one claim,” Rambo says. “Then there’s another claim that the state assumes people will make that the bill was enacted for a racially-discriminatory purpose – and that’s an equal protection violation that they’re anticipating. And the last constitutional claim that they’re anticipating is a preemption claim – the idea that federal law preempts any state law with respect to immigration and so SB4 is invalid for that reason.”

Written by Laura Rice.