Houston, TX, June 27, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) filed an amicus brief in federal court in support of several Texas cities seeking to halt implementation of Senate Bill 4 (“SB4”). This bill would require local police to question legally detained or arrested individuals, as well as victims and witnesses, about their immigration status, and would punish officials who refuse to comply with federal immigration law.
As detailed in its brief in El Cenizo v. Texas, ADL asserts that SB4 would take away local officials’ discretion and require them to enforce federal immigration law. This would undermine the critical relationship of trust and cooperation between Texans and their local law enforcement agencies and cause immigrants, both undocumented and those with lawful status, to fear any interaction with police. SB4, an anti-“sanctuary cities” measure, is set to take effect Sept. 1.
The four largest cities in Texas are already parties to the lawsuit against the state, as are a number of civil and human rights organizations concerned about the potential for harassment and profiling as a result of the legislation.
“If Senate Bill 4 becomes law in Texas, the relationship of trust and cooperation between Texans and their local law enforcement could be irreparably harmed,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “This bill will undermine public safety by driving a wedge between police officers and the residents they are legally sworn to protect.”
In its amicus brief, ADL contends implementation of SB4 would cause both undocumented and documented immigrants to “justifiably fear that the police will report their immigration information – or that of a family member or friend – to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), thereby resulting in detention and/or deportation.”
Through its regional offices in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, ADL partners with local law enforcement agencies and is in regular contact with local police departments on issues of hate crimes and community policing strategies built on tolerance, non-discrimination and trust.
The amicus brief was prepared for ADL by Holt Major Lackey of the Austin law firm DiNovo Price Ellwanger LLP.