The cities of San Antonio and Austin have joined the fight to stop the state’s new immigration enforcement law, Senate Bill 4, in federal court, the Texas Tribune reports. The measure allows peace officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and punishes officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents by turning over immigrants subject to possible deportation. Elected or appointed officials found in violation could face criminal charges and possible removal from office. The bill is scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1. Opponents hope a federal court will find it unconstitutional.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed the suit yesterday on behalf of San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldaña and a trio of nonprofit groups: La Unión Del Pueblo Entero, the Worker’s Defense Project and the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education. The city of Austin will join the case today. It contends that the measure would violate the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Opponents say it is illegal to empower each police officer, sheriff’s deputy, booking agent and other law enforcement figures in the state of Texas to decide on their own whether and how to enforce federal immigration law.