Bexar Commissioners: Taxpayers Won't Pay for Anti Sanctuary Lawsuit

Bexar County Commissioners are suing the State of Texas in federal court over that law banning 'Sanctuary Cities,' but the Commissioners made it clear today they are not asking taxpayers to foot the bill, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"This is conditioned on MALDEF handling Bexar County's representation of this case," Assistant District Attorney Ed Schweninger said.  "Conditioned on no legal obligation to pay them any attorney's fees if they should be the prevailing party, or a non prevailing party."

In addition to not paying MALDEF, which is the leader of the lawsuit, County Judge Nelson Wolff says taxpayer resources will not be used in support of the lawsuit

."We all live by the Constitution of the United States of America," Wolff said.  "We're going to find out just what that Constitution says in just a little bit."

The County spoke out strongly against SB 4 when it was debated in the Legislature.  Law enforcement officials expressed a concern that the bill would deter witnesses and victims from speaking to law officers, out of fear that they would be reported to immigration authorities.  There were also concerns about a provision that would allow law officers to ask the immigration status of individuals who were detained.

Wolff has also expressed concerns about the county not being reimbursed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for holding inmates on ICE 'detainers' in the jail, which is currently being covered by Bexar County taxpayers.

The decision by the County and the City of San Antonio to sue to get the law thrown out has raised questions about whether taxpayers should be forced to pay for local officials to file lawsuits against state passed bills they may support, and whether it is the business of a county or city government at all to sue other agencies of government, with the taxpayer involuntarily picking up the tab.

A hearing on whether SB 4 will be blocked from taking effect September 1 is set for next week in federal court in San Antonio.

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