Days after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed one of the nation’s toughest immigration laws barring sanctuary policies, the new measure is already under legal and political attack, the Wall Street Journal reports. Under the law, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, municipalities and police departments are prohibited from adopting policies that limit their cooperation with federal authorities in enforcing immigration law.
Local law enforcement officials and sheriffs can face criminal penalties—including jail sentences—if they don’t comply with requests from federal authorities to detain illegal immigrants. The League of United Latin American Citizens has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of the small, largely Hispanic border town of El Cenizo. The suit says the law is unconstitutional and infringes on the rights of local governments to police their own residents. The El Paso County Commissioners will retain a law firm so they can move forward with their own suit against the measure. In an unusual move, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a federal lawsuit last week asking a judge to affirm the bill’s constitutionality. The suit names as defendants the city of Austin, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, an outspoken opponent of the law.