Texas’ new Senate Bill 4 immigration law is a mistake. It casts unfair doubt on peaceful Americans, and grants police too much leeway to investigate legal residency without cause.
But it is not yet clear how the state’s four largest cities will argue the law is unconstitutional. Fort Worth, Arlington and Tarrant County should think long and hard before spending public money joining Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin in the lawsuit.
The border city of El Cenizo, south of Laredo, filed suit claiming the Texas Legislature has no authority to compel local officials to fulfill voluntary federal requests involving civil immigration enforcement. A preliminary hearing is Monday in San Antonio.
The lawsuit argues that the law leaves too much power in the hands of the Texas attorney general to determine whether local agencies are meeting requests.
Some cities obey federal legal requirements but make local decisions on investigations, holding detainees or other requests involving immigration.
That does not make them “sanctuary cities.”
Yet it’s also clear that the Legislature has considerable say-so over home-rule cities and counties. The new law might not meet legal muster, but it’s also not unreasonable for the Legislature to pass rules.
Fort Worth, Arlington and Tarrant County need not join the lawsuit for now, but should watch it closely as it develops in the courts.