Current Events: In December, Mayor Mike Rawlings announced a promised $50 million gift for design work on yet another elaborate plan for the Trinity. Photo courtesy of Trinity Trust

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City of Dallas Joins San Antonio in Lawsuit Over ‘Sanctuary City’ Bill SB4

Calling the state's law "unconstitutional," Mayor Mike Rawlings made the announcement at City Hall on Wednesday.

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.

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Comments

  • Gunther421

    This action, which was decided in a secret, executive session, hurts three groups. First, the Dallas taxpayers who have to pick up the legal costs (while potholes remain unfilled). Second, the Dallas government departments that will lose federal and state funding as part of the Sanctuary Cities movement. Third, the citizens of Dallas who will be exposed to even more crimes committed by Illegal aliens.

    • Michael Gallegos

      First off, it affects the families of undocumented persons who reside in Texas AND pay taxes yet don’t benefit from the protections afforded to others as of recent. Secondly, those who are undocumented are not the only people committing crimes, so your third point needs to be refined as to not accuse ONLY “illegal aliens.”

      • JamieT

        I noticed that no less an authority than Bill Marvel has upvoted your logic so, by all means, correct me if I’m wrong, but several things occur to me here.

        First, foreign nationals not in the U. S. illegally in the first place would not be subject to taxation while not “benefit[ting] from the protections afforded to others as of recent”. Citizens of other nations who are not in the U. S. are generally not subject to our taxation; it is their illegal entry into the U. S. that exposes them to that burden.

        Second, while illegal foreign nationals committing crimes are indeed not the only persons committing crimes, removing persons already in violation of the law (who, by their violation of the law, actively demonstrate their disregard for the law) before they might commit more serious crimes clearly reduces the total potential crime rate. As with taxes, persons not here are generally incapable of committing crimes here.

        On the other hand, in the wake of the recent police and fire pension settlement Dallas certainly needs as many net city sales and property tax payers as it can muster, so perhaps this foreign population can adequately replace the revenues of any others inclined to hop outside the city borders while the current seller’s market holds. Perhaps our city leaders are shrewdly pursuing this hope as well within this gambit, attempting to harvest their city taxes while externalizing whatever associated costs they can (education, medical care, etc.) to other entities.

        • Happy Bennett

          I am willing to be shown the evidence to the contrary, but it seems to me that foreign born nationals here illegally do not register to file state sales taxes for their small business services (lawn care, house cleaning as examples etc.) and generally are not registered with the county-state as property owners, (which includes property such as computers and machinery as well as other equipment used in one’s business) thus avoiding high Texas real estate-business equipment property taxes, county services taxes and county hospital taxes.
          These individuals, however, DO have access to the welfare system, such as indigent county hospital-medical services, food stamps, and other sources of “welfare” including public education, and injured worker assistance under Workmen’s Compensation insurance–paid by the employer but perhaps resulting ultimately in perpetual tax payer funded disability medical insurance . The costs to the public resulting from criminal activity is yet another variable. I haven’t seen the economic advantage to the public or solitary tax paying legal citizen for allowing illegal immigration or other illegal activities to go unchecked. A few niche industries such as building and construction, landscaping etc may see a benefit at tax payer expense. Presumably sales tax is paid when sales are made locally at bricks and mortar stores. I have observed that of the foreign nationals in my acquaintance, most are intelligent enough to comply with the law if enforced, and will readily do so if incentivized, which is why I fail to understand this kind of illogical mayoral “grandstanding”. Sooner or later, the tab will have to be paid, and the law will have to be obeyed.

          • Juan Pablo Segundo

            From what I’ve seen foreign born nationals here illegally are more likley than citizens to report taxes for their small cash only business, because they think it will help them to attain legal status if a new law offering them a path to legal status becomes avalible…
            All illegals pay property tax directly or indirectly….
            There is a big misconception but
            No illegals don’t qualify for foodstamps or Federal assistance!
            They boost our economy by purchasing goods/services…renting / buying property / creating jobs directly and indirectly…

            In the end..Deporting non-crimanal illegals only benifits racists and people that want to follow a law simply because it’s a law.

          • Happy Bennett

            Not sure what having a “small cash only business” has to do with anything. Obviously citizens pay more taxes than non citizens, because otherwise citizens would be subject to IRS and other local and federal fines, penalties and other prosecutorial criminal remedies. Foreign nationals here illegally can and do conduct business without paying taxes .BTW a social security number (something an illegal foreign national would not possess) is required to apply for a sales tax registration.application as well as for federal tax filing. Possibly land lord tax expenses are passed on in rental and leasing housing costs when possible–but this is not the same as paying property taxes on business equipment etc.. Children of illegal immigrants are eligible for Medicaid medical and dental care as well as public education access. Retroactively wishing to change( an immigration) law after it has been broken is unrealistic. “Legal status” is attained by the greater percentage of eligible immigrants to the US on a regular basis. Most citizens here do not see a compelling argument for open borders.

          • Juan Pablo Segundo

            Small cash only business is the only way I can see someone not paying taxes…. Citizens and illegals alike are subject to the same IRS penalties, prosecution etc. I would say illegals have more to lose and are more likely to pay their taxes because they are also subject to deportation…..A SS# is not required for sales tax registration, if they cant use an ITIN # they can use their EIN# (employer identification number) from their LLC or other corporation they own. For taxes they can use an ITIN# or EIN#….Only children that are citizens of the USA can receive assistance. All Illegal immigrants pay the same taxes as anyone else for public education and most illegals pay for the other services thru taxes that only citizens are eligible for…Sometimes laws should be changed…..I think most citizens could agree to a system that takes hours, days, or maybe a couple weeks to approve or deny people from North, Central, or South America, to pay to come in to the country legally, to work, be documented, and pay all taxes, but qualify for no benefits….Could you agree to that?

          • Happy Bennett

            I think that you should review the Texas sales tax application and state LLC registration form for your “small, all cash business”–also keep in mind that federal income tax -if you ever bother to pay it– needs similar if not the same identity requirements. Technically, Children born in the USA SHOULD be the only ones eligible for tax payer funded public education and welfare but we all know that it really doesn’t work that way (wink, wink, you Dreamer you).

          • Juan Pablo Segundo

            Just reviewed the applications & : The Texas sales tax permit that allows you to buy products without paying tax does require you to have a SS#…To form an LLC or corporation to PAY tax you do NOT need a SS#. If your an ilegal without a business you PAY taxes with an ITIN # that is used instead of a SS# for PAYING income taxes. They pay the same property and sales taxes as citizens… illegals are eligible for tax funded public schools( they pay in the same taxes for our schools, supplies, teachers etc.) They do NOT qualify for welfare…. Do you think you would support the work program I asked you about in the other post??

        • Michael Gallegos

          Given the circumstance, doesn’t it seem a bit prejudiced to implement a law that allows for local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities?
          Subjecting minority communities to this type of behavior does nothing but exacerbate racial tension. It’s also unfair to target people who contribute to the economy, and willingly file taxes with the federal government even though they could easily get away with not doing so.
          As for the crime, I personally think that people, in particular undocumented individuals, would be disinclined to report crimes in fear of being asked about their status in this country. Crime goes unreported, regardless of who commits.

          • JamieT

            No.

          • Michael Gallegos

            Okay.

        • R.J. MacReady

          Illegals pay taxes every time they buy something. Illegals having their employment checks taxed is inconsequential because they are federal taxes and this bill requires local agencies to do the job of the federal government. They also most likely rent and the landlord pays taxes from the money of the tenant. Illegals are paying just as much in taxes as everyone else on the local level.

    • EricCeleste

      Fourth, gonna be harder to afford bird seed for my convocation of bald eagles with flying-flag face tats.

  • Juan Pablo Segundo

    Right decision for Texas, and Dallas,
    Thank you Mayor & council! Sb4 is a unconstitutional, devisive bill, that would benifit no one, hurt our economy, & Texas families. Thanks to everyone that went with us to city hall today!

    • Douglas

      It is indeed DEVISIVE. It separates law-abiding citizens from those breaking the law. That’s what enacted laws do. Reward those who abide by the law and punish those who don’t. You’re not entitled to anything when you refuse to obey the law.

      • Juan Pablo Segundo

        I see it as divisive because it leads to more racial profiling and discrimination of Texas citizens that may appear to be “foreign”, causing racial tensions to rise when we should be focusing on unity and coming together for the good of our nation & families.

  • Douglas

    We, the sworn lawmakers of Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, reserve the right to sue the state to allow our illegal residents to break the law and remain here without documentation. Democrat logic.

    • Juan Pablo Segundo

      I see your point. Maybe we should give them a fine. These are real people like you, they are here. They commited a victimless crime, risking their lives in many cases in coming here. They contribute greatly to our economy by paying for goods & services & property taxes in Dallas. They can’t get drivers licenses or many profecional jobs because they are here illegally… Think about the legal teachers and staff that would be fired if we got rid of students in Dallas who are illegaly here or their parents are…

    • R.J. MacReady

      You obviously don’t work in law enforcement. This bill is a bad idea. Illegal or not everyone should be able to contact the police to report crimes without fear of retribution. In my department we’ve even set up a system to report crimes via telephone, text message and online so that citizens who are wanted can still report incidents. I’m speaking of course of citizens that cannot report anonymously. I myself don’t want to be chasing down a citizen and endangering the public because I stopped someone for a 25 dollar ticket simply because he/she is illegal. I just want them to pay their fine and move on.

      • Douglas

        No, I don’t work in law enforcement. However, there is NO requirement in the bill forcing any LE to ask for immigration status. It makes it optional and legal so the cop won’t have to fear for his/her job. Funny LE will issue you a $350 ticket for changing lanes without a turn signal (that’s what San Antonio gave me, so it’s the actual cost), so I don’t know where your $25 ticket comes from. Always cost me a heckuva lot more than that. Tells me where your LE priorities are. Any “crime” that makes money for the city you’ll enforce. People who cost taxpayers billions in an illegal immigration status, you’ll give a pass to.

        • R.J. MacReady

          The bill penalizes municipalities and sheriffs who refuse to cooperate with INS. It doesn’t just say that the State will reduce or withhold funding. it states if you don’t comply you are a criminal and will be dealt with accordingly just not in those words. So now local police officers are going to have to be trained in federal and immigration law. This is one step into turning local police into federal enforces. The San Antonio police department has a long history of telling the federal government to go **** themselves and it usually has nothing to do with immigration. So what does this mean to you? Well the State can now remove NCIC access available to police departments. This means we cannot access criminal histories, run plates, check backgrounds. Officers would be operating blind and therefore less hesitant for restraint during a stop. Officers including elected officials can be held criminally liable. I don’t know how the DA will prosecute anyone without NCIC access, but oh well. I could go on about how it will affect other aspects of the community, but hopefully you get the point.

          • Douglas

            elected officials and LE telling their officers to not comply should be held criminally liable. Bet that father in San Francisco wishes his LE had complied with a simple “do not let this man out of your custody ” request before his daughter was murdered on the pier right in front of him, minding their own business. But the sanctuary city gave the middle finger to that request, and now Kathryn Steinle is dead. So yes, every official in that city should be held accountable for a death caused by the “victimless ” crime of illegal immigration. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is a criminal.

          • R.J. MacReady

            You just have no idea what this law is going to do, but when it affects you maybe you’ll understand. And yes it will negatively affect you eventually.