Legal battles are looming after Gov. Greg Abbott signed the controversial Senate Bill 4 in spite of heavy opposition from leaders in the state’s major metropolitan areas. The law set to go into effect on September 1 could extend federal immigration enforcement into local police departments.
San Antonio and other communities committed to their sanctuary statuses would be forced to scrap their current policies of prohibiting law enforcement from inquiring about immigration status in routine encounters. Opponents of the new law also fear that police chiefs, sheriffs and other law enforcement officials would be powerless to stop their officers from asking about citizenship.
One of the louder voices in the chorus of detractors’ of Texas’ pending seismic shift has been San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. He and his peers believe that the new law will not only create chaos in their departments, but also drive immigrants into the shadows, fearful of reporting any crimes.
Other San Antonio officials, specifically members of the city council, are considering a lawsuit to block the new law. If litigation moves forward, the city would be the largest jurisdiction to sue the state. San Antonio would also join El Paso and other smaller towns, including El Cenizo, the state’s oldest sanctuary city that has already filed legal actions. Additionally, Austin’s city council has approved legal action to block the law.
Immigration advocates against SB 4 have announced a “Summer of Resistance” with events planned throughout the state. Following those seasonal protests, state officials could be facing a “Fall of Litigation.”