On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in Travis County district court against the City of San Antonio for failing to comply with the state’s law against sanctuary cities, the first of its kind since the law’s passage.
In December of 2017, San Antonio police found a tractor-trailer filled with a dozen suspected illegal aliens who appeared to be part of a human smuggling operation. Rather than cooperate with federal immigration authorities, Police Chief William McManus released all 12 of the suspected illegal aliens instead.
Such action was in direct defiance of Senate Bill 4, the state’s sanctuary city law that was passed by the state legislature in 2017. Under the law, municipalities are required to honor detention requests from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and cannot, as a policy, refuse to enforce federal immigration law.
“Senate Bill 4 guarantees cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement to protect Texans,” Attorney General Paxton said in a statement after filing the suit. “Unfortunately, some municipalities, such as San Antonio, put the safety of police officers and the public at risk by defying state law. The court should grant our request for injunctions and civil penalties against San Antonio to send a message that all Texas cities must obey the law.”
The lawsuit also accuses Chief McManus of arranging for a private entity to take the suspected aliens away from ICE officers, as well as failing to check their criminal history. Texas Child Protective Services was also never contacted to investigate the safety of a minor who was being smuggled.
As a result, the lawsuit states, “today there is no criminal case filed against the individual who transported the suspected aliens as part of a smuggling operation despite his confession.”