ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Arlington is considering joining a lawsuit against Senate Bill 4, the controversial law that bans sanctuary cities and allows police to ask some people about their immigration status.
Today, the mayor of Arlington announced it’s on the agenda for the next city council meeting, Sept. 5. Tuesday night, city council will hear from passionate opponents of Senate Bill 4, who will urge the city to sue the state of Texas to throw the law out.
Richard Gonzales is one of dozens of Arlington residents who will speak tonight.
“They’re going to be profiling us,” said Gonzales. “Based on my appearance and others who may look like myself, (we’ll) now be subject to basically a ‘show me your papers’ request.”
Richard Gonzales is a proud U.S. citizen and Army veteran. He fears the law will cause undocumented immigrants not to report crime, even if they are victims, for fear of deportation.
Under Senate Bill 4, which takes effect Sept. 1, police can ask people without ID if they are in the county legally. It doesn’t force law enforcement officers to ask about immigration status, but the law does say a sheriff or police department can’t prevent an officer from asking.
The Arlington Police Department tells CBS11 it doesn’t expect to see a big change when the law takes effect.
“We do not inquire about immigration status while conducting field activities, such as responding to calls for service, conducting traffic stops, or making citizen contacts in the field,” said Sgt. Christopher Cook. “This has been our practice and we don’t believe that officers will be changing what has historically occurred for years and years, regardless of any prohibition of creating a policy forbidding it. Our organization will follow the law that was passed.”
APD is also meeting with Hispanic residents August 30, to assure them they should keep reporting crime.
Still, some residents are asking the city to join Dallas, San Antonio and other Texas cities in a lawsuit to stop SB4. There are many others, like Anthony Jerome, who don’t believe Arlington should spend tax payer dollars on lawsuit they don’t support.
“I do not think that the City of Arlington or any other county or municipality should in anyway infringe upon enforcing the law,” said Jerome.”I don’t understand this because it seems to me it’s very simple. You come here legally no problem. You got all the benefits and everything. You come here illegally, you are a criminal.”
Fort Worth city council voted down an effort to sue over SB4 last week but the City of Dallas is taking Texas to court over SB4. It joined San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Travis and El Paso Counties and the City of El Cenizo, the first to take its concerns to court.
The lawsuit is currently pending in federal court in San Antonio.