lawsuit against Senate Bill 4, known as the anti-sanctuary cities law, continues to play out, the Mexican government has again voiced its concern, saying the law could “open the door to possible acts of racial profiling; and promote an environment of persecution.”
The Mexican government filed an amicus brief (a legal document filed by a group that has a strong interest in the outcome of a case) on Friday, expressing support for U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia‘s August decision to temporarily halt parts of the law from going into effect prior to its scheduled Sept. 1 start date, and asking the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Garcia’s decision.
The Mexican government specifically asked the federal court to block two provisions of the law: the part that allows law enforcement officials to ask about the immigration status of anyone they stop, and the part requiring local jails to comply with all detainers requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Detainer requests are when ICE asks local jails to hold a person who would have otherwise already been released for an additional 48 hours if their immigration status is in question, so that ICE may pick them up.)
The Fifth Circuit Court previously allowed the detainer request part of the law to go into effect back in September — at least until the lawsuit against the law continues to play out. But, in its decision, the court argued that SB 4 doesn’t force law enforcement to comply with every single detainer request. Rather, it asks that local agencies cooperate with ICE detainers as they’ve done before.
Garcia’s preliminary injunction also did not block the part of the law that allows law enforcement to ask about immigration status — but he stressed in his ruling that law enforcement officials are not allowed to detain people solely because of their immigration status.
“In its brief, the Mexican government argues that… these provisions would create a complex and perilous legal patchwork, which may lead to selective enforcement of the law that might entail discrimination,” the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a statement. “This could undermine the rights of Mexicans that live or visit the state. Furthermore, it would have a negative impact in the relation with Texas, as well as hinder effective collaboration and trade between our country and state.”
This is not the first time the Mexican government has taken legal steps to voice their opposition to the “show me your papers” law. The Mexican government filed a different affidavit back in June, highlighting consequences the law could have on the Mexican community in Texas.
According to that affidavit, calls from Mexicans in Texas to the Center for Information and Assistance for Mexicans (a service provided by Mexican consulates) increased 678 percent in May and June compared to that same time the previous years. Mexican consulates in Texas also saw a 60 percent increase in the number of people seeking legal advice in the six weeks after SB 4 was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.
The lawsuit against SB 4, brought on by Texas’ largest cities and counties and several local officials against the state of Texas, has yet to officially go to trial. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for November.