Sheriff, D.A. Weigh in on County’s “Sanctuary Cities” Decision

By Pilar Arias

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar addressed county commissioners Tuesday prior to a unanimous vote to join the city of San Antonio in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4, also known as the sanctuary cities law.

“I think it certainly sends a message that we won’t stand for overreaching,” Salazar said. “I have seen numbers in other counties that aren’t too far away where the reporting of violent crimes has gone away because possibly because the fear of this law.”

The suit, filed by MALDEF, claims the law that allows officers to ask anyone legally detained about their immigration status is unconstitutional.

The 4-0 decision by commissioners Tommy Calvert, Chico Rodriguez and Paul Elizondo and Judge Nelson Wolff was made despite a recommendation from District Attorney Nico LaHood to wait 30 days.

LaHood told KTSA’s Jack Riccardi he wanted the time to consult with legal representation in other major Texas counties, particularly El Paso, to discuss their legal analysis about the law.

“That we go in not just to make a political statement, because I’m not into the politics of this, but to win because there’s a need to protect the citizens of Bexar County,” LaHood said.

LaHood believes there is some potential teeth behind a First Amendment argument and a constitutional argument for vagueness.

SB 4 is set to become law Sept. 1, and Salazar said he is preparing his deputies to abide by the law.

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