Texas tried to punish localities, leaders, and organizations who were fighting the state’s racist “show me your papers” law, scheduled to go into effect next month, by suing them in an effort to have the law preemptively declared constitutional. This week, a federal judge dismissed beleaguered Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit:
The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin is a victory for Texas’ largest cities, which are suing to block the immigration crackdown signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
The law lets police officers ask people during routine stops whether they’re legally in the United States.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, made the unusual move of asking Sparks to preemptively rule in the law’s favor. But the judge dismissed the request.
“We’re disappointed with the court’s ruling and look forward to pressing our winning arguments in the San Antonio cases and beyond (if necessary) on this undoubtedly constitutional law,” Paxton said in a statement.
“It is what we expected and a step in the right direction, unlike the statewide leaders at the Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, judges have to do their best to make rational decisions,” said Austin City Council Member and immigrant rights advocate Greg Casar. “It has been obvious from the beginning that Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against my colleagues was frivolous and without standing to intimidate local officials advocating against Senate Bill 4.”
Texans and advocates have pushed hard in their opposition to SB 4, which has been described as an “anti-sanctuary city” bill, but in reality stands to devastate Latino and immigrant communities regardless of their legal status. Under this draconian legislation, police will act as federal immigration agents and be allowed to question the immigration status of anyone they stop, even if they’ve been pulled over for something as simple as a broken taillight. Witnesses could instead become targets.