Dallas City Council members have approved a resolution condemning Texas’ landmark border security law, with only three council members voting against the measure. 

The resolution is in response to Senate Bill 4, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in December of last year and simultaneously criminalizes illegal entry into the state of Texas and empowers law enforcement to arrest illegal aliens.

The legislation has been caught up in a lawsuit by the Biden administration, which asserts that the law is “clearly unconstitutional.”

In addition to the Biden administration’s lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project have challenged the law. 

The law was supposed to take effect in March, but a federal court has temporarily blocked it. 

Last month, the resolution was put on the city council’s agenda, stating that enforcing SB 4 would strain police resources and negatively impact relationships with the community. 

During Wednesday’s meeting, Councilmember Adam Bazaldua—who authored and proposed the resolution—said, “We can’t change state law here at a local level, but we can tell our residents through our action that we prioritize their safety and condemn this atrocious bill that seeks to encourage profiling and discrimination.”

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia also spoke at the meeting, saying he is “very sensitive to the fact our immigrant community is fearful.”

“SB 4 in no way supersedes banning racial profiling,” said Garcia. “If SB 4 were to pass, the legal methods that are [underway] right now… it prohibits the police chief from prohibiting his or her officers from enforcing the law. We’ve already gotten together and started formalizing a policy.”

“Every police chief in this country needs their immigrant community, particularly their diverse community, their undocumented community. We don’t differentiate crime on immigration status. If this passes, we have no choice but to have policies in place because we cannot prohibit its enforcement,” Garcia added.

Only Mayor Eric Johnson and Councilmembers Paul Ridley and Cara Mendelsohn voted against the resolution. Councilmember Jaime Resendez was absent during the vote.

Mendelsohn called the resolution a “political performance.”

“The resolution is simply political performance that will degrade the relationship we have with state leaders and change absolutely nothing,” said  Mendelsohn. “It’s a divisive effort that oversteps the boundaries of our elected office.”

Meanwhile, Ridley condemned the law but said he could not support the resolution. 

“It is bad legislation—so bad that I believe it to be unconstitutional and ultimately will be overturned by the courts on that ground,” said Ridley. “At the same time, I see this resolution as not remedying the passage of SB 4. It cannot—and no one should expect it to—because we don’t have the authority to overturn [the Texas legislature]. So, I cannot support it in its current form.” 

Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith told Texas Scorecard  “Like most Texans, I could care less what the City Council of Dallas thinks. The lawlessness that they promote in their own city tells me how much they care for the safety of their own citizens, let alone other Texans.”

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.

RELATED POSTS

Abductions Spike in Dallas

According to local crime analytics, kidnappings in Dallas are on the rise, with black and hispanic individuals disproportionately affected.