City leaders consider challenging sanctuary city law
SAN ANTONIO – City leaders are deciding whether to challenge the state’s new sanctuary city law.
A handful of other Texas cities and counties have already sued the state to keep the law from going into effect this fall.
On Thursday, the mayor and city council will be briefed behind closed doors by the city attorney on the pros and cons of a court challenge.
Sources at City Hall say there are concerns a lawsuit could impact our relationship with state leaders.
The sanctuary city law puts the jobs of sheriffs and police chiefs on the line if they don’t enforce immigration laws. It would also allow law enforcement to ask anyone they’ve detained about their immigration status.
“I was an immigrant to the United States,” says local student Josue Romero. “I was born in Honduras.”
On Tuesday morning he crafted a political statement outside City Hall: an art installation tackling the immigration debate.
"This was a project for one of my classes at Southwest School of Art,” Romero says.
He’s in the U.S. on a work permit but was nearly deported this year.
"A lot of the people here are being affected directly by this law,” Romero says. "I feel empowered to do as a much as I can to fight."
We polled the mayor and city council on whether they believe the law should be challenged.
We started with the two people who want your vote for mayor next month. Incumbent Ivy Taylor declined an interview. Challenger Ron Nirenberg wants to hear the city attorney’s opinion on the matter but has publicly stated that it is a bad law and he supports challenging the bill.
Five council members think the city should challenge the law: Roberto Trevino, Alan Warrick, Rebecca Viagran, Rey Saldana and Shirley Gonzales.
"We're against any law that encourages racial profiling, that makes it harder for our police to do their work,” Councilman Saldana says.
"It's already decreasing our 911 calls. It's already creating an air of fear,” Councilman Trevino says.
Two council members, Joe Krier and Mike Gallagher, want to sit down with the city attorney before taking a side.
The final two, Ray Lopez and Cris Medina, did not return our phone calls.
By EMILY BAUCUM