The Texas Attorney General has sued William McManus, San Antonio’s police chief, for alleged violations of SB 4, which is the state’s immigration law that targets sanctuary cities. McManus, like other big-city police chiefs, has been a staunch opponent of SB 4, citing adverse effects on immigrants reporting crimes and assisting police. The law bars local law enforcement agencies from refusing detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), stopping officers from inquiring about individuals’ immigration status, or stopping them from cooperating with immigration authorities. The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in sanctions.
The lawsuit alleges that McManus improperly handled a December 2017 human smuggling case, which involved 12 immigrants being found inside a tractor-trailer. Rather than accepting help from ICE, who often handles human smuggling cases at the border, McManus charged the driver of the tractor-trailer with state crimes, released the immigrants to Catholic Charities, and contacted a legal assistance group who assists immigrants who have been victims of a crime in seeking visas. The San Antonio Police Department’s official policy in similar cases is to refrain from referring immigrants to ICE unless they have federal deportation warrants and to assist immigrants in seeking visas as crime victims.
In addition to other civil penalties, the lawsuit also seeks fines of $25,500 per day from the San Antonio Police Department since September 1, 2017, when its policy on human smuggling cases outlined above went into effect. A city spokesperson indicated that the department always has cooperated with federal authorities and will continue to do so.
The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any type of relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your case. It is our intention to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.