SB4 court hearing

It was a festival like environment in front of San Antonio's federal court house.

Those opposed to SB4 which is the state ban on sanctuary city policies came Monday vowing to fight the law regardless of what was said inside the courtroom.

"We are going to continue to stand against this law even if it means breaking the law to protect our children," said Gabriel Rosales with Lulac.

A lone supporter of the law showed up wearing a Trump t-shirt.

"It’s not that they won’t let you speak it’s that they drown you out," said the man who declined to give his name.

As he spoke he was heckled and chased from the court house grounds.

"Not everyone in San Antonio is spoken for by Mexican American Legal Defence and Education Fund and American Civil Liberties Union," said the SB4 supporter.

The law prevents communities from enacting ordinances that ignore federal immigration law. It also prevents police officers from being punished by their departments for asking people about their immigration status during routine traffic stops.

Those who violate the law risk being fined or going to jail. Lawyers for the ACLU made a compelling argument that section of the law squelches free speech.

"I think, Texas did not really try to defend it, what they tried to say was no the law does not reach speech it very clearly does it uses the word endorse it was clearly meant to squelch speech," said Lee Gelernt with the ACLU.

Mayor Steve Adler said he was pleased with how the hearing was going and refused to stop speaking out against sb4.

"I come from a community where I feel a lot of support, and as I go around the community a lot of people have told me they have my back," said Mayor Adler.

A big battle took place Monday afternoon over perceived and actual damage caused by SB4. Witnesses who testified for the city of Austin and the other plaintiffs claim fear about ICE raids, and the SB4 debate during the legislative session caused a 21% drop in the enrollment for a food assistance program. 

The judge was also told that AISD experienced a 152% increase in absenteeism during the ice raids. Attorneys for the state questioned the accuracy of those estimates and also trying to claim damages for a law that’s not yet being enforced.

This Texas sized feud got even bigger after us attorney general Jeff Sessions sent attorneys from the department of justice to help defend SB4. They disputed claims the law is unconstitutional and encourages racial profiling.

"Especially in light of the federal governments representation of probable cause, there is no 4th amendment violation when states and localities honor ICE detainers," said Marc Rylander, Communications Director with the Texas attorney general's office.
It’s not known when the judge will issue a ruling on the request for an injunction.

It may not come before another federal court hearing takes place on Thursday regarding the law in Austin.