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Texas Attorney General files lawsuit to uphold constitutionality of sanctuary cities law

Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to uphold the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4. SB 4 bans sanctuary cities in Texas and requires all governments throughout the state to comply with immigration law and detainer requests.

“SB 4 is constitutional, lawful and a vital step in securing our borders,” Attorney General Paxton said. “SB 4 guarantees cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement to protect Texans. Unfortunately, some municipalities and law enforcement agencies are unwilling to cooperate with the federal government and claim that SB 4 is unconstitutional.”

Attorney General Paxton filed the lawsuit to defend the right and duty of law enforcement agencies throughout Texas to detain individuals pursuant to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) federal detainer program. The program enforces immigration law and helps prevent dangerous criminals from being released into Texas communities. “Texas possesses an independent sovereign responsibility to protect the health, welfare, and safety of its residents,” Attorney General Paxton wrote. “Texas, cognizant of this duty, recently enacted SB 4 to set a state-wide policy of cooperation with federal immigration authorities.”


Under the federal Declaratory Judgment Act, Texas may bring a lawsuit to avoid a multiplicity of suits in various forums so that the constitutionality of SB 4 may be resolved throughout Texas in a single court. In the lawsuit, Attorney General Paxton demonstrates that SB 4 is valid under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

“Governments throughout Texas have a clear duty to continue holding undocumented and suspected criminal aliens pursuant to ICE detainers,” Attorney General Paxton said. “This is a public safety issue that requires swift resolution. If a Texas sheriff or other law enforcement authority cannot lawfully honor an ICE detainer, dangerous people will slip through the cracks of the justice system and back into our communities. As a nation of laws, it is imperative that SB 4 is fully honored in Texas.”

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