AUSTIN (FOX 26) -
The passing of Texas Senate Bill 4 is drawing a lot of attention, not only because of widespread opposition but also because of the way that the Governor Greg Abbott signed it into law. It was on Sunday evening, not in a news conference setting but rather on Facebook Live.
"It is a shameful day in the state of Texas that Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided to sign this law in a very cowardly way,” says Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL.
"We're going where most people are getting their news and talking directly to them instead of speaking through a filter," says a spokesperson for Gov. Abbott.
Groups are now gathering, speaking out against SB4 which requires Texas law enforcement agencies to determine citizenship for those stopped by law enforcement officers and makes it a crime for police chiefs and sheriffs not to comply.
"Let's stop saying this is about criminals," says Abraham Espinosa. "This is not about criminals. They are targeting innocent working families.” Espinosa adds that the law will rip families apart.
Rose Escobar's husband, Jose, who did not have a criminal record, was recently deported after being in the U.S. almost two decades. Rose says she and her two children are suffering and fighting to get him back.
"Jose Escobar is my best friend," explains Rose as she cries. "I've known him since I was 14 years old and I've loved him ever since. A part of me is literally gone.”
Many rallying against SB4 says it isn't the answer, Instead, a better path to citizenship would be preferred by SB4 opponents.
"Believe me, if I had a choice, I would not choose to be undocumented because it's a very hard life to live,” adds Cesar.
"I'm a U.S. citizen," says Abraham. "I'm going to remember who was with us when I go vote and this is a message for you Governor Abbott. You are not going to be our governor anymore."
SB4 is projected to go into effect in September. Its opponents are rallying in the hope that a court ruling will find the law unconstitutional.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a lawsuit to uphold the constitutionality of Texas Senate Bill 4, which was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. His office released the following statement on Monday:
"SB 4 is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders," Attorney General Paxton said. "SB 4 guarantees cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement to protect Texans. Unfortunately, some municipalities and law enforcement agencies are unwilling to cooperate with the federal government and claim that SB 4 is unconstitutional."
Attorney General Paxton filed the lawsuit to defend the right and duty of law enforcement agencies throughout Texas to detain individuals pursuant to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) federal detainer program. The program enforces immigration law and helps prevent dangerous criminals from being released into Texas communities. "Texas possesses an independent sovereign responsibility to protect the health, welfare, and safety of its residents," Attorney General Paxton wrote. "Texas, cognizant of this duty, recently enacted SB 4 to set a state-wide policy of cooperation with federal immigration authorities."
Under the federal Declaratory Judgment Act, Texas may bring a lawsuit to avoid a multiplicity of suits in various forums so that the constitutionality of SB 4 may be resolved throughout Texas in a single court. In the lawsuit, Attorney General Paxton demonstrates that SB 4 is valid under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
"Governments throughout Texas have a clear duty to continue holding undocumented and suspected criminal aliens pursuant to ICE detainers," Attorney General Paxton said. "This is a public safety issue that requires swift resolution. If a Texas sheriff or other law enforcement authority cannot lawfully honor an ICE detainer, dangerous people will slip through the cracks of the justice system and back into our communities. As a nation of laws, it is imperative that SB 4 is fully honored in Texas."
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick released the following statement on Monday:
I have been working tirelessly since my days as a state senator to ban sanctuary cities in Texas -- a practice that has put our communities in needless danger and made them victims of crimes that may have been prevented.
Texas has finally said 'enough is enough' and banned sanctuary cities. Now, no liberal local official can ignore the law and allow criminal aliens who have committed a crime to go free.
"SB 4 represents the hard work of many elected officials including Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, who was the leader in the Senate on this issue. With Gov. Abbott's signature Texas is taking a strong stand for the rule of law and safety in our communities.