Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a preemptive strike Monday in the on-going battle over sanctuary city policies.
Paxton asked a federal judge to make a ruling on the constitutionality of SB 4. Governor Abbott signed the controversial bill into law Sunday. Earlier Monday immigration advocates voiced anger and disappointment over the signing and promised to continue the fight in court.
For those who gathered in front of the Governor's Mansion Monday morning the fight against SB4, in the legislature, has come to a bitter end. But organizers of the protest promised the battle is far from over.
"We are building an Alliance, an Alliance of Resistance because Texas is not a place for hate,” said Montsurrat Garibay.
Ken Zarifis, with Education Austin made a direct attack on Governor Abbott’s character for how SB4 was signed.
"Our people will be stronger than that coward's pen in the dark of night,” said Zarifis.
Governor Greg Abbott signed SB4 Sunday evening around 6:30. The closed event was posted live on Abbott’s official Facebook page.
"I was proud last night to ... to sign this law,” said Governor Abbott Monday morning.
In an interview on FOX & Friends Governor Abbott defended the controversial bill. He pointed out it only outlaws local ordinances that prevent law enforcement agencies from complying with federal immigration law.
"This is simply a mechanism such that when someone who has a criminal record, who is wanted by ICE, they're going to be held and detained and turned over to ICE. If you are here, regardless of what your status and you have not committed a crime that makes you subject to an ICE detainer, you have no problems whatsoever,” said Governor Abbott.
Earlier this year people who had not committed criminal offenses were caught up in round ups by ICE agents. The actions in Austin and other cities enflamed fears of a broad crackdown on all undocumented immigrants. As a result SB4 became the sounding board for immigration advocates like State Representative Rafael Anchia.
"He says it’s about law enforcement, but every major police department in the state came out against it,” said the Dallas Democrat.
The most controversial aspect of SB4 protects police officers who ask about citizenship -- even during routine traffic stops. Among those who condemn the so called, “show me your papers” clause, was Congressman Lloyd Doggett. The Austin democrat believes SB4 is unconstitutional.
"Action needs to occur, not only in the streets but in the courts, and ultimately at the ballot box to throw out those who would impose this unfair and probably unconstitutional law,” said Representative Doggett.
Governor Abbott also promised court action, saying any local official who violates the new law will be locked up and communities with sanctuary city polices will be subject to fines and penalties of up to $25,000 per day.
San Antonio is the first city to abandon its sanctuary city policy as a result of SB4 being signed. Monday morning the police chief there announced his department will no longer prohibit San Antonio officers from asking about a person's immigration status.
APD does not have that kind of specific policy but Monday APD Interim Police Chief Brian Manley said a legal review is being done and changes will be considered only after the review is completed.