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Campaign Updates

05/16/2017

Texas Local Leaders Announce Support For Legal Challenge To Senate Bill 4

Elected officials, advocates to describe swelling opposition to anti-immigrant law signed last week

05.16.2017

Austin, TX – City council members, county commissioners, state legislators, and grassroots organizations from the five largest metropolitan areas in Texas announced a coordinated effort today to support legal challenges against the State of Texas in the first trial of Senate Bill 4, an anti-immigrant bill signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott last week. Police chiefs and sheriffs from all five cities and their respective counties have all opposed the bill, alongside vocal criticism from community leaders, clergy leaders, and advocates across Texas.

In coming weeks, municipalities across the state are expected to pass resolutions expressing their intent to back legal challenges to SB 4 and reaffirm their commitment to policies that respect the ties between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Their actions mark the start of a “Summer of Resistance” against SB 4, with a series of litigation, protests, and other actions around the state. 

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) has helped bring groups on the ground together in coordinated action. Both the Workers Defense Project and Texas Organizing Project, who have been leading the fight, are part of CPD’s network of community groups around the country.

Austin Councilmember Greg Casar, a champion for immigrant communities who led a sit-in against the bill before it was signed, is also a board member of Local Progress, a national network run by CPD that brings together legislators from cities and towns devoted to progressive policies. Other Texas lawmakers leading litigation efforts against SB 4 are also members of Local Progress, including Dallas City Councilmember Phillip Kingston and Austin City Councilmember Delia Garza. 

Nationally, Local Progress members have led the drive against the Trump Administration’s Executive Order to strip funding for sanctuary cities, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.

Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, released the following statement in response:

“Immigrant communities in Texas are stronger and more organized than they’ve ever been. They know the lessons of their peers in Arizona and across the country, who have fought anti-immigrant laws and won. We will mobilize our network across the country to fight tooth and nail against this law until it is struck down once and for all.”

Sarah Johnson, Co-Executive Director of Local Progress, also released a statement:

“Local lawmakers across the country have come together in unprecedented ways to resist the tide of hate coming from the Trump administration and Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Elected officials know that they are stronger when they work together – and they know that without sustained resistance, a law that hurts immigrants in Texas could just as easily take off in their backyard. We will not back down when our communities are threatened. In fact, we will fight back even harder.”

Jose Garza, Executive Director of the Workers Defense Project, also released a statement:

“Abbott had his say, now it’s time for the people of Texas to have theirs. We are moving this fight from Abbott’s backyard to our home turf—where Texas communities fight for their families every day.” said 

Michelle Tremillo of Texas Organizing Project, also released a statement:

“Today, we begin the ‘Summer of Resistance,’ and we start by calling on our local leaders to sue the State of Texas to fight this racist legislation. We call on communities throughout Texas to rise up and take action to protect all Texans.”

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar also released a statement:

“As I took my oath of office to serve on the Austin City Council, I vowed to ‘protect, preserve, and defend the constitution of the United States. That includes fighting unconstitutional mandates by Governor Greg Abbott himself. I believe my colleagues on the Austin City Council, and in many other municipalities across this state, will reject anti-immigrant coercion by our state leaders and join together in litigation against SB 4.”

San Antonio Council Member Rey Saldaña also released a statement:

“As a public servant representing a community with a large immigrant population, it is my duty and responsibility to voice my opposition to SB 4, a law demonizing immigrants and bullying the most vulnerable in our community. My conscience will not allow me to stand silently as families are torn apart, communities live in fear, and public trust in law enforcement is eroded. The time to take action is now, and the first step in a journey of resistance is defeating an unconstitutional law.”

Houston Council Member Robert Gallegos also released a statement:

“I’m a first generation American, born to Mexican immigrants who came to this country in search of a better life. SB 4 makes communities less safe and will only strain the relationship between local police and immigrant communities. I stand in support of our immigrant communities and I will continue to speak up against this discriminatory and anti-immigrant law.”

El Paso County Commissioner David Stout also released a statement:

“Senate Bill 4 is not only immoral and unconstitutional, but it is a threat to public safety, to residents’ constitutional rights, and to El Paso County’s settlement agreement in a federal court. I believe El Paso County should be at the forefront of a legal challenge against this hateful law that will ultimately separate families, terrorize communities, and erode the trust we’ve built between peace officers and the community they serve and protect.”  

Dallas City Council Member Philip Kingston also released a statement:

“The governor’s attack on our immigrant brothers and sisters is as unjust as it is bad policy for Texas. I am shocked by his preemptive attack on Austin for having the temerity to demand equal treatment for its citizens, and I do not intend to let Austin go it alone. I have asked our city attorney to intervene in the lawsuit so that we can stand with our Austin friends against this hateful governor.”

 

Media Contact:

Asya Pikovsky, apikovsky@populardemocracy.org, 207-522-2442