Texas Attorney General Sues San Antonio Over Sanctuary City Law

KAREN TOWNSEND Posted at 3:31 pm on December 2, 2018

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the City of San Antonio and Police Chief William McManus over violations of SB4, the sanctuary city law. SB4 was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in May 2017 and is sometimes referred to as the “Show Me Your Papers” law. It is a ban on sanctuary cities in Texas.

The lawsuit asks the district court to force McManus and the city to comply with SB4, prohibit the department from “thwarting” federal immigration enforcement and to assess civil penalties against the chief, the police department and the city.

Paxton is looking to send a message that the law must be adhered to by local authorities. Back on December 23, 2017, when police found 12 illegal aliens being transported in an 18-wheel truck, detectives interviewed them and then released them rather than turn them over to Homeland Security. SB4 made refusing to work with federal authorities on immigration matters a Class A misdemeanor. (Houston Chronicle)

“After the initial stop, in a departure from customary practice, Chief McManus asserted jurisdiction over the investigation under the state smuggling statute, advised officers at the scene that SAPD would be handling the case locally, and stated that HSI agents were not to be involved in the case,” the lawsuit reads.

The “state smuggling statute” cited in the suit appears to refer to Texas’ state smuggling of persons law, which was created in 2011. Julian Calderas, the former deputy field office director in San Antonio for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, previously told the Express-News that local police rarely use the charge, instead turning over the investigation to Homeland Security Investigations, the criminal investigative branch of ICE.

The lawsuit also alleges McManus personally called an immigration attorney to the crime scene, took the suspected undocumented immigrants to Public Safety Headquarters and then released them “without so much as a routine background check.”

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Texas Attorney General sues San Antonio over sanctuary city law