The Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Monday to challenge a recently passed bill [text, PDF] that they claim unlawfully targets immigrants. One provision of Senate Bill 4 (SB4) permits authorities to demand immigration or citizenship status from any individual suspected to be an undocumented person in an attempt to eliminate sanctuary cities. TCRP argues that this “show me your papers” law promotes racial and ethnic profiling and is unconstitutional. SB4 also criminally punishes state and local authorities that fail to enforce the provisions to a high degree and allows the Texas government to withhold funding [JURIST report] from local governments acting as “sanctuary cities.” America’s Voice [official website] reported [AV report] that enforcement authorities have been strong advocates against the law because the provisions will be counterproductive to ensuring public safety. One concern is that undocumented persons will not speak up against violence or cooperate as witnesses of crimes, in fear that they will be fined, detained, or deported. Texas Governor Greg Abbott [official website] defended the bill stating [Texas Tribune report], “this bill ensures that there is predictability that our laws are applied without prejudice.”
Since the election of US President Donald Trump, some states and cities have proposed legislation to crackdown on sanctuary policies while some cities continue to stand behind their policies [JURIST op-ed]. In March the Mississippi Senate approved a bill [JURIST report] to prohibit local sanctuary immigration policies. In February, the Alabama House approved [JURIST report] a bill to block funding for sanctuary universities. Earlier in February San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over an executive order that would cut federal funding [JURIST report] from sanctuary cities.