Against the recommendation of the district attorney’s office, Bexar County Commissioners’ Court voted unanimously yesterday morning to join the City of San Antonio’s lawsuit against the state over SB 4 being signed into law.
Last week, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund along with several other non-profits filed a lawsuit against the state for SB 4. San Antonio and Austin have both signed onto the suit. Bexar County is the latest government entity to join onto the suit – as commissioners voted unanimously to join the lawsuit in Tuesday’s meeting.
The district attorney’s office had advised the court they should take a month to study underlying legal questions unique to Bexar County – which commissioners ignored.
“Delaying does not make a statement; we need to make a statement,” said Place 2 Commissioner Paul Elizondo, exaggerating the urgency of the doomed grandstanding measure. Commissioners indicated they feel the new law goes too far and felt necessary to respond aggressively.
“Based on the precedents, it seems to me quite likely the federal courts would say this law went too far,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert said, echoing the chamber’s flawed hope that federal courts would overturn the new law.
Texas’ sanctuary cities bill is hardly revolutionary, though. Despite media reports and political rhetoric painting Texas as a brash, devil-may-care conservative caricature, the Lone Star State is late to the party on this issue. Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee all have sanctuary city bans on the books (some passed as early as 2009), with at least 20 other states currently deliberating similar measures.
The vote was technically unanimous, as the one republican commissioner on the court, Precinct 3 Commissioner Kevin Wolff was absent. He had indicated his opposition to the lawsuit in a weak-kneed statement that simultaneously decried SB 4 while stating it wasn’t the county’s place to try to reinvent immigration law.
“I believe I was elected to speak my mind and represent what the majority of my constituents feel is right,” said Wolff in a bafflingly ironic statement regarding his absent opposition. “It is the constituents of Bexar County I work for – and it is for them to decide whether or not I’m doing the job I was elected to…”
Apparently, that wasn’t to fight for anything – or even show up.
Bexar County is the most recent government entity to sign onto the lawsuit MALDEF is ostensibly funding. As the suit gains steam, more municipalities will inevitably sign on to oppose the recently signed measure supported by an overwhelming 77 percent of GOP voters.