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El Paso joins SB 4 suit

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano

El Paso jumped into the fray Tuesday, with a unanimous City Council vote to join Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and others in opposition to Senate Bill 4 — the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill. The law would punish local officials for not cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers and give law enforcement the ability to question the immigration status of people who have been detained or are under arrest. A press release from the city of El Paso noted that the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) is covering expenses related to the suit, not the city. The press release continues, “Despite El Paso not being a sanctuary city, the City is concerned with provisions in SB 4 that raise questions related to the compliance and integration of the proposed bill in current law enforcement operations…The City of El Paso is hopeful that the suit will prevent SB 4 from putting the responsibilities and duties of federal law enforcement agencies on the back of local law enforcement without training and clear guidance. The unfunded mandate is expected to put additional strain on the El Paso Police Department, as SB 4 will add an extra requirement on the workforce that is already seeing a shortage in staff.. The City of El Paso has a long successful history of working alongside our federal law enforcement partners, to add additional mandates on local resources will only limit officers from performing their public safety responsibilities.” For those keeping track at home, that means Fort Worth is the only major metro in the state that has not signed on to formally oppose the bill. Though the law is currently set to go into effect on September first, a federal court heard arguments Monday.

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