City of El Cenizo v. State of Texas
IRLI filed a friend of the court brief supporting Texas Senate Bill (SB) 4, which Attorney General Ken Paxton is defending against claims by municipalities that it unconstitutionally coerces so-called "sanctuary cities" to assist in identifying and detaining unlawfully present aliens at the request of ICE and the Border Patrol.
SB 4, which will go into effect September 1, 2017 unless blocked by a federal court order, requires Texas municipalities of all sizes, from tiny colonia El Cenizo to mega-politan Houston, to cease so-called sanctuary policies and direct their law enforcement departments to actively cooperate in holding illegal aliens, who are already in local police custody, for transfer to federal immigration authorities. Notably the cooperative enforcement actions mandated by SB 4 have already been mandated for state police agencies, like the Texas Rangers, Highway Patrol, and Department of Corrections and Justice, for many years.
Tiny El Cenizo, represented in a test case brought by a phalanx of national aliens rights lawyers coordinated by the ACLU, claims without any basis that its mayor could be gagged and subject to conviction for opposing enforcement of immigration laws, and that the recently incorporated colonia is a local "sovereign" that cannot be coerced by the federal government into depriving illegal aliens of a claimed constitutional right not to be arrested by police on civil immigration charges, such as being unlawfully present in the United States.
The lawsuit, City of El Cenizo et al v. State of Texas et al., is pending before federal District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio. Major communities including El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, and Travis County are seeking to intervene in the case. In recognition of the serious potential threat to the authority of Congress and the President that would arise should SB 4 be blocked by a federal judge, the U.S. Department of Justice has also made an appearance.