May 25, 2017

HOUSTON — The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Texas today joined a lawsuit challenging Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB4), which demands that local governments and their employees engage in federal immigration enforcement practices.

The case, City of El Cenizo, Texas, v State of Texas, was filed earlier this month on behalf of a group of local governments and law enforcement officials whose rights and ability to serve their own constituents are imperiled by SB4. The plaintiffs include the City of El Cenizo, El Cenizo Mayor Raul L. Reyes, Maverick County, Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber, Maverick County Constable Mario A. Hernandez, and the Texas State League of United Latin American Citizens (Texas LULAC).

“As the leader of a diverse community along the south Texas border, I am challenging SB4 because it will undo the decades of work to build trust with the immigrant community and to use our scarce resources to increase public safety. We will not be part of Trump’s deportation force,” said Raul Reyes, mayor of El Cenizo. “This lawsuit will give a voice to the people and families that live in fear because of SB4.”

“By joining as co-counsel for the City of El Cenizo, Mayor Reyes, and the other courageous plaintiffs who sued the state, we aim to protect the civil liberties of immigrant communities,” said Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas. “The Constitution does not allow the state of Texas to enact laws that threaten immigrants and the local officials entrusted to protect them. Today, we assert our resistance to the state’s pervasive attacks on vulnerable people and say to Gov. Abbott — see you in court.”

“Under SB4, local authorities will lose control over public safety and Texans will suffer from discrimination because of the color of their skin, accents, or background,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants’ Rights Project.

The El Cenizo lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. The ACLU is co-counsel with LULAC National General Counsel Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. and Renea Hicks of the Law Office of Max Renea Hicks in Austin.

Stay Informed