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Immigrant Advocates Call On Fort Worth To Join Legal Fight Against 'Sanctuary Cities' Law

Matthew Martinez
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Protesters held signs at Fort Worth City Hall expressing their displeasure against what they characterized as anti-immigration legislation singed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

About a hundred people gathered in front of Fort Worth City Hall Tuesday night to call on the city council to join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4.

That’s the new Texas law banning so-called sanctuary cities. It puts penalties in place for communities that don’t comply with federal immigration authorities.

State Rep. Ramon Romero of Fort Worth joined the advocates, who call their effort United Fort Worth.

“If anyone in this council chamber, mayor or council believes that they or someone they know will not be affected, then they are wrong,” he said. “So, why wait? Right now, Fort Worth stands to be the only major city in Texas that has not joined the fight against SB4.”

Gov. Greg Abbott says Senate Bill 4 is designed to make Texans safer. Opponents say a provision allowing local police to ask about the immigration status of people they detain or arrest will lead to racial profiling.

Judge Sergio DeLeon, a justice of the peace in Fort Worth, said the measure would undermine police-community relations and impede policing. The Texas Police Chiefs Association has argued that as well.

“It doesn’t make sense to have law enforcement, local law enforcement, serve as federal immigration officers,” DeLeon says. “It makes no sense at all.”

The Fort Worth City Council met last night before adjourning for a summer recess, and it did not take up the question of whether to join Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso — and of Wednesday morning, Houston — in the legal fight against SB4, which goes into effect in September.

Next week, a federal judge will hear arguments on whether or not to block implementation of the law while the lawsuit moves forward.

Photo: Matthew Martinez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram