Texas Sues Austin, Travis County and Even MALDEF Because Why the F Not?

May 8, 2017
7:31 PM

Less than 24 hours after Texas governor Greg Abbott went on Facebook Live to sign SB 4 into law, the Lone Star State isn’t even waiting for the legal challenges to come in about what is essentially a “show me your papers” law. On Monday, Texas filed a lawsuit against the following individuals and organizations:

TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS; SALLY HERNANDEZ, in her official capacity as Sheriff of Travis County, Texas; CITY OF AUSTIN, TEXAS; ORA HOUSTON, DELIA GARZA, SABINO RENTERIA, GREGORIO CASAR, ANN KITCHEN, JIMMY FLANNIGAN, LESLIE POOL, ELLEN TROXCLAIR, KATHIE TOVO, and ALISON ALTER, all in their official capacities as City Council Members of the City of Austin, Texas; STEVE ADLER, in his official capacity as Mayor of the City of Austin, Texas; ELAINE HART, in her official capacity as Interim City Manager of the City of Austin, Texas; and the MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND

The following lawsuit (all 46 pages of it) provides all the details, but in essence, Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the suit, claiming that the defendants are “are publicly hostile to cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.” It was expected that organizations such as MALDEF were going to challenge SB 4.

On Twitter, Adler’s profile is already responding to the lawsuit:

In addition, MALDEF tweeted its reaction to the lawsuit:

It also shared the following statement:

First, MALDEF is extremely proud to stand with the brave officials of Austin and Travis County in defending wise and constitutional policies to protect public safety and to prevent discrimination, in pursuit of a shared goal of making Texas the example of successful immigrant integration that it should be. MALDEF is also proud to be recognized as forward representative of the millions of Texans who reject the odious SB 4 as wholly inconsistent with state history, origins, and future aspirations. As an organization founded in Texas and with a powerful and continuing presence in San Antonio for nearly half a century, MALDEF has an undeniable interest in getting Texas back on track following the enactment of this legislative derailment.

That said, this is a frivolous legal action, filed precipitously and without basis in the law. Rather than wait for aggrieved individuals and entities to pursue their many constitutional challenges to SB 4, the state bespeaks its own apparent high anxiety about the legality of Abbott’s Folly, SB 4, by seeking a preemptive strike through this lawsuit. Moreover, as if helplessly condemned to follow a failed script ordained long in the past, Texas repeats a gambit attempted by California Gov. Pete Wilson in defending the notorious Proposition 187 over 20 years ago. So, MALDEF has been through this before; we successfully defeated Wilson’s preemptive suit, and will do the same here.

We will see you in court, Governor Abbott. In the meantime, we hope that both the governor and the attorney general will seek treatment for an apparent problem with premature litigation.

Meanwhile, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), along with the City of El Cenizo, Texas, and Maverick County Tom Schmerber, filed suit against Abbott on Monday: