Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is Suing the City of Austin, Travis County and Sheriff Hernandez trying to make his Sanctuary City law Constitutional before it takes effect September 1st. The battle started here in Austin and Travis County last November when Sheriff Sally Hernandez was elected as the new sheriff. She had run on a platform that stated she would not hold undocumented immigrants for minor offenses. As she stated in her campaign Sheriff Hernandez policy, which took effect Feb. 1, will only honor immigration detainers when the suspect booked into the Travis County Jail on charges of capital murder, aggravated sexual assault and “continuous smuggling of persons.”
After the election of Hernandez, Governor Greg Abbott cut $1.5 million dollars from her budget in grant money. As I stated in a previous article (link), Austin was targeted for ICE raids, US Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin revealed. He stated during an immigration hearing that a mid-February raid in the Austin metro area was done in retaliation for Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s recent decision to limit her department’s cooperation with ICE. Judge Austin said that in a late January meeting, local ICE officials told him and another federal judge that an upcoming enforcement operation was being done in direct response to Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s adoption of a sanctuary policy in Travis County.
Hernandez said last week that she would follow the ban if it were signed into law. “While I hate seeing a state law like this come to pass, I have always followed the law and that will not change.”
Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez is named in the state’s lawsuit brought before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, along with Travis County, the city of Austin and, in their official capacity, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and City Council members.
The city of Austin said in a response they have opposed this legislation from the beginning. “Our law enforcement professionals have told us this legislation will make our community less safe by degrading the relationship between our residents and the police who protect them.The Law Department will defend the protected speech of our Mayor, City Council members, and City Manager who have been personally named in this lawsuit.”
Governor Abbott signed SB 4, the “Sanctuary City” bill into law on Sunday. However, this law will not go into effect until September 1st. On Monday, May 8th Abbott had Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton file a lawsuit asking a federal court to uphold the constitutionality of the law. The Attorney General says the lawsuit demonstrates the law is valid under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (link).
In the end what this all comes down to is that Abbott, like Donald Trump, feels he has the power to dictate whatever policies he chooses in Texas. He believes he can make every city and county follow his orders, legal or not. Abbott has a severe issue with the city of Austin and Travis County because it’s known as a city of acceptance for all, and is the most liberal city in Texas.
Also the ACLU came out Monday and stated “Gov. Abbott just gave Texas police a license to discriminate,” in their Texas ACLU twitter account. I am positive the ACLU will be filing a case in the Texas courts to counter the constitutionality of Abbott’s lawsuit.
Today the national ACLU twitter account posted a message with a travel warning stating “Because of the passage of #SB4, we are issuing a Texas travel advisory. If your rights have been violated, call the ACLU of Texas at 1-888-507-2970. The ACLU, Mayor Adler and the city of Austin will prevail in fighting this unlawful new law signed by Greg Abbott. Like Trump, Governor Abbott will find out that the constitution does not make discrimination legal as Abbott chooses to believe.