Resolution Endorsing Challenges to SB4

Resolution Endorsing Legal Challenges to SB4 Passed at Last CEC Meeting

On May 31, the County Executive Committee passed a resolution endorsing legal challenges to the racist, anti-immigrant SB4 passed by the Texas Legislature during the legislative session. The resolution is as follows:

Travis County Democratic Party’s Council Executive Committee Resolution Endorsing Legal Challenges to Texas Senate Bill 4

WHEREAS:

More than 17% of the Travis County community was born outside of the United States, and about 12.5% are not U.S. citizens, according to the 2015 American Community Survey. They are our neighbors, family, and friends, and they make immense economic, social, and cultural contributions to this country;

WHEREAS:

When local law enforcement officers engage in immigration enforcement, it makes everyone in the community less safe, and further, it exposes all people of color to increased risk of racial profiling;

WHEREAS:

On April 30, 2014, the Travis County Democratic Party’s (TCDP) Council Executive Committee (CEC) called on the Travis County Sheriff’s Office to opt out of the “Secure Communities” program, which invited local law enforcement to engage in immigration enforcement through ICE’s detainer regime;

WHEREAS:

On July 26, 2014, the Austin City Council passed resolution 20140626-099 criticizing the Secure Communities program and discouraging the Travis County Sheriff’s Office from complying with ICE detainers;

WHEREAS:

On January 20, 2017, Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced a new policy in which Travis County would strictly limit cooperation with ICE detainer requests, and on January 23, Governor Greg Abbott wrote Sheriff Hernandez a public letter threatening, if she did not rescind the policy, to cut funding to Travis County and work with the Texas Legislature “enact tough policies” to punish local officials that do not fully comply with ICE detainers;

WHEREAS:

Sheriff Hernandez was undaunted and put the policy into effect February 1, 2017; and the following day, Abbott tweeted: “Texas will hammer Travis County”;

WHEREAS:

On February 11, 2017, TDCP’s CEC passed a “Resolution in Support of Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s ICE Policy,” stating Travis County shared Sheriff Hernandez’s principles and declaring its strong support for the Sheriff’s ICE policy;

WHEREAS:

Senate Bill 4 was filed in Texas Legislature as a highly partisan, “show me your papers” measure, designed to encourage local law enforcement to help enforce immigration law. It passed both the Texas House and Senate on party-line votes by members of the Texas Republic Party, and Abbott signed it into law on May 7, 2017;

WHEREAS:

On May 7, 2017, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Travis County; Sheriff Hernandez; the Austin Mayor, City Council, and City Manager; and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), seeking a declaration that Senate Bill 4 is constitutional (Texas v. Travis County, et al. 1:17-CV-00425 (W.D.Tex – Austin));

WHEREAS:

On May 18, the Austin City Council directed its City Manager to pursue litigation “to provide relief to the City of Austin and the people of Texas from Senate Bill 4”;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:

The Travis County Democratic Party’s County Executive Committee strongly encourages and endorses efforts by Travis County, the City of Austin, and other local political entities to pursue litigation and all other necessary efforts to thwart the restrictions, mandates, and goals of Senate Bill 4.

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