The Texas Attorney General today sued the City of San Antonio, claiming the City violated SB-4, the state law banning Sanctuary when Police Chief Bill McManus failed to turn over illegal immigrants found in a truck stopped on I-35 near Splashtown last December to immigration authorities, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Senate Bill 4 guarantees cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement to protect Texans, Attorney General Ken Paxton said in filing the lawsuit in Travis County District Court today.
"Unfortunately, some municipalities, such as San Antonio, put the safety of police officers and the public at risk by defying state law. The court should grant our request for injunctions and civil penalties against San Antonio to send a message that all Texas cities should obey the law.
Police found the immigrants, who were apparently part of a human smuggling operation, int he back of a tractor trailer.
The lawsuit alleges that McManus refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities who were alerted by one of his officers, and instead ordered the 12 suspected illelgal immigrants released from custody.
The lawsuit alleges that McManus violated the portion of SB-4, which has been upheld by the federal courts, which requires state and local officials to 'cooperate with federal immigration officials.'
Paxton says a citizen filed a complaint, and his office investigated the incident, and concluded that McManus and his officers 'prohibited and materially limited the enforcement of immigration laws and cooperation with federal immigration officials.'
The lawsuit accused McManus of 'skirting normal San Antonio Police Department protocol by 'arranging for immigration attorneys from an activist group' to provide the suspected illegal immigrants with a translator and provide legal advice, and allowed the group to take custody of the immigrants and release them.
CITY ATTORNEY ANDREW SEGOVIA RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:
“While we need time to review the complaint, we are fully confident that neither the City nor Chief McManus violated the applicable provisions of SB 4. The Attorney General’s characterizations of what happened that day are clearly aimed at furthering a political agenda. The City has a long history of cooperating with federal authorities and we will continue to do so. The City’s process for handling human smuggling/trafficking incidents was created in coordination with the federal government, and federal officials have not taken issue with our handling of immigration issues.”