1:20 p.m. update: Calling the “sanctuary cities” ban Senate Bill 4 a threat to the safety of Austin residents, Mayor Steve Adler announced Friday that the city’s legal challenge against the controversial law has been filed.
“We want our day in court,” Adler said.
Austin’s legal challenge takes the form of a legal intervention in a suit filed by the city of San Antonio, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Foundation and others Thursday in the San Antonio federal court. The Austin City Council voted May 18 to pursue legal action over SB 4 in a 10-1 vote, with Council Member Ellen Troxclair voting against.
The filing essentially allows Austin to join onto the suit as an interested party.
Earlier: Mayor Steve Adler and Council Member Greg Casar are holding separate press conferences Friday morning to discuss Austin’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4, which bans so-called “sanctuary cities.”
Casar has said Austin will be filing on Friday to join the lawsuit filed in federal court by San Antonio, which argues the U.S. Constitution prevents states from creating immigration law. It also claims that SB 4 violates the First Amendment.
The bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law last month on Facebook Live, requires local law enforcement agencies to honor requests by immigration agents to hold jail inmates suspected of being in the country illegally. It also empowers law enforcement officers to inquire about a person’s immigration status during routine police encounters such as traffic stops.
Shortly after Abbott signed the bill, Attorney General Ken Paxton named the city of Austin as the top defendant in a lawsuit asking a federal judge to determine the law’s constitutionality.
Check back for updates on the city’s legal actions Friday.