If you ask Democratic lawmakers, the American Civil Liberties Union and Latino immigration advocates, they’d all tell you that Texas’ Senate Bill 4 is unconstitutional. SB4 would ban the “Sanctuary Cities” policy in the state, which would allow local and county authorities to racially profile Latinos. Signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in May, SB4 was supposed to take effect tomorrow, but not anymore.
Yesterday, in San Antonio, Federal Judge Orlando L. Garcia temporarily blocked against SB4.
— Julian Aguilar (@nachoaguilar) August 31, 2017
Within 24 hours of Abbott signing SB4 into law, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to bar implementation of SB4. Their lawsuit stated that the law was “patently unconstitutional on numerous grounds and the balance of harms strongly militates in favor of preserving the status quo.”
Judge Garcia ruled that the temporary ban against SB4 is granted until this case is resolved.
Judge Garcia said yesterday that SB4 can’t ban people and/or ideas just because they disagree with certain viewpoints.
Judge points out SB4 doesnt give cops authority to stop people just to make an immigration inquiry, that "would likely be unconstitutional."
— Adolfo Flores (@aflores) August 31, 2017
“The government may disagree with certain viewpoints, but they cannot ban them just because they are inconsistent with the view that the government seeks to promote,” Judge Garcia wrote, according to The New York Times. He added, “SB 4 clearly targets and seeks to punish speakers based on their viewpoint on local immigration enforcement policy.”
The state of Texas already said it would appeal the judge’s ruling. The case is now going to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans. The New York Times states that this court is one of the most conservative in the U.S.
When the ruling hit social media, many of those advocating against SB4 celebrated the victory.
This is momentous as this was a direct assault on Latin people in Texas who are 39% of the population of that grand ole state! Thank u judg https://t.co/2K0A4WVXto
— John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) August 31, 2017
— Esther Poveda (@EstherPovedaC) August 31, 2017
— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) August 31, 2017
Some are calling this a minor victory because there’s still so much work that needs to be done in order for SB4 to be completely shut down.
LULAC National President Roger Rocha tells mitú people must remain vigilant .
— LULAC (@LULAC) August 31, 2017
“People must know their rights,” Rocha tells mitú. “You can be a U.S. citizen and still get pulled over.”
Rocha also said they knew an appeal would be one of the steps in the process, and something they expected. “This fight isn’t over, and we’re very confident in our lawyers.”
Rocha says that the outcome of SB4 is very important because the final ruling will have a major, nationwide effect on the discussion of immigration and racial profiling.
“I can see this going to the all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Rocha says. “Texas is ground zero, so if [SB4] passes, other states will follow and it will further divide this country.
Some on Twitter claim the judge ruled against SB4 because he’s Latino.
— Virginia Dare (@vdare) August 31, 2017
The New York Times also points out that Judge Garcia used to be a Democratic state lawmaker in the 1980s, and was appointed to the federal courts by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
To those critics, Rocha tells mitú the claim “doesn’t hold much water.”
“They are wrong,” Rocha says. “[Judges] need to follow the rule of law. What if it would have been a Republican judge? Judges are there to interpret the law and follow the law themselves.”
Rocha also says relief efforts in Houston paint a picture of how the community should always be with each other.
— Other Jordan (@adjournpal) August 28, 2017
“It’s unfortunate that it takes Hurricane Harvey people coming together regardless of their nationality,” Rocha tells mitú. “It has to take a national tragedy for people to help each other. We should always be that way.”