Travis County will join dozens of cities and counties nationwide in supporting a lawsuit asking a federal court to block President Donald Trump’s executive order on so-called sanctuary cities.
The suit, filed by the city and county of San Francisco in late January, argues that the order is unconstitutional, in violation of states’ rights and an overstep of the president’s power.
In the Jan. 25 executive order, Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from communities with sanctuary policies that limit cooperation between local authorities and federal immigration, calling such policies a risk to national security and public safety.
Travis County commissioners voted 4-1 on Tuesday, with Commissioner Gerald Daugherty dissenting, to support the suit in an amicus brief that 34 other cities and counties will also join.
“We agree with the position of San Francisco that the administration’s position is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 10th Amendment federalist revision,” Eckhardt said, referring to the amendment that establishes states’ rights.
Daugherty, the only conservative on the court, has long opposed sanctuary policies.
“To me, it’s clear that the federal government, the state government feels that we are a sanctuary, and I think that we are in harm’s way because I think that they are the ones that probably are going to prevail in how they feel about it,” Daugherty said. “And I think it’s going to put us in a really tough spot from a budgetary standpoint.”
Gov. Greg Abbott cut $1.5 million in grants to Travis County last month after Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced she would honor immigration detention requests only for inmates charged with the most serious crimes.
The county of Santa Clara, Calif. has also sued the federal government to halt the order. Thirty-four cities and counties nationwide, including the city of Austin, signed a brief in support of that suit earlier this month.
Many of the same are expected to sign this brief as well. Fourteen California cities and counties, including Berkeley, Oakland and Santa Rosa, have already filed a brief in support of the San Francisco suit.
Other cities and counties expected to join the brief along with Travis County before the deadline Wednesday include Austin, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and Seattle.