Texas AG's lawsuit against Travis County, Austin over SB 4 dismissed

Suit sought to have sanctuary cities law declared constitutional

August 09, 2017 - 5:31 pm

AUSTIN (KJCE) - A lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to have the state's new sanctuary cities law declared constitutional was dismissed by a federal judge Wednesday afternoon.

Paxton filed the lawsuit in May shortly after the bill was signed into law, seeking a ruling to declare the law constitutional. The defendants named in the suit included both the City of Austin and Travis County, as well as Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.

"We were first to file a lawsuit concerning SB 4, filed this case in the only proper court, and moved quickly to consolidate other lawsuits against SB 4 in Austin," Attorney General Paxton said in a statement Wednesday evening. "The health, safety, and welfare of Texans is not negotiable. We’re disappointed with the court’s ruling and look forward to pressing our winning arguments in the San Antonio cases and beyond (if necessary) on this undoubtedly constitutional law."

Senate Bill 4 seeks to ban so-called "sanctuary cities" - local government entities that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws. The law also allows for local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest. The law, pending further court action, is set to take effect on September 1.

A separate lawsuit is still pending in federal court in San Antonio, where several Texas cities have argued that the law is unconstitutional. Oral arguments in that case were heard in June, and a ruling is still pending.

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