The city of Dallas will join San Antonio and Austin as a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the so-called sanctuary cities bill, SB 4. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced the closed-door decision made by the council on the city attorney’s recommendation on Wednesday afternoon. Here’s the mayor’s full statement:
The City Council was briefed this afternoon in executive session regarding the lawsuit the State of Texas recently filed against various state governmental entities and officials concerning Senate Bill 4, which is known as the “sanctuary cities” bill. The bill is unconstitutional and would infringe upon the city’s ability to protect public safety.
My City Council colleagues and I understand the serious constitutional concerns with SB4. On the advice of the City Attorney’s Office, we will work with other cities throughout the State to challenge this bill in court.
Hundreds of protestors gathered outside City Hall on Wednesday in a show of solidarity, urging the council to vote to join San Antonio’s lawsuit. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed that suit on June 1 on behalf of the city in a federal district court in San Antonio. Rawlings said he expects the proceedings to happen there “pending actions in the next couple weeks.”
Senate Bill 4 was a huge source of controversy in the just-concluded legislative session. It passed along party lines, and gives discretion to individual law enforcement officers about whether to perform immigration checks in the field. It strips the authority from sheriffs and police chiefs to issue edicts on the field checks to their departments—another example of the state attempting to weaken local control in Texas cities and counties. Those who go against the law would face disciplinary action or fines.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton are both listed as defendants on the suit. In addition to the cities, the ACLU is also onboard.