Austin to formally challenge recently signed sanctuary city law

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin has joined San Antonio, El Paso County and El Cenzio in their lawsuit challenging Senate Bill Four, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott last month. Mayor Steve Adler and members of the Austin city council believe the new law is vague and unconstitutional.

The city of Austin has joined San Antonio, El Paso County and El Cenzio in challenging Senate Bill 4, which was signed into law by Gov. Abbott in early May.

The Austin City Council first voted to authorize the lawsuit against the ban on May 18 in a 10-to-1 vote. Council Member Ellen Troxclair was the lone vote against the measure.

The law, passed by the Texas House in a 94-54 vote, bans so-called sanctuary cities in Texas and requires local law enforcement to follow federal regulations regarding immigration. The law puts harsh penalties in place for communities that don’t comply with the new law, such as hefty fines, loss of funds and even removal from office. Mayor Adler sees this partly as a free speech issue. 

“This law provides that an elected official such as myself could be removed from office for endorsing a policy that is contrary to Senate Bill 4. Lest there be any question, I am today endorsing a policy different than that set out in Senate Bill 4,” the mayor explained.

Protesters filled the Capitol on Memorial Day, the last day of the legislative session, to make their opinion known about the law.

In a statement released just after he signed the bill, Governor Abbott says public safety is his top priority. Despite the lawsuit and heavy opposition from Democrats, Gov. Abbott believes the law will stand up in court.

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