Mexico, lawmakers respond to SB 4

BROWNSVILLE — This past week, the Mexican government filed an affidavit to stop Texas’ “sanctuary cities” law from being implemented in September.

Signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott via Facebook Live, Senate Bill 4 states sanctuary cities are not allowed in the state and that local police chiefs and sheriffs are to help enforce immigration law.

Those who refuse to cooperate can face removal from office and even jail time.

Carlos Sada Solana, Mexico’s assistant secretary of foreign relations, said the affidavit will express Mexico’s concerns, according to The Associated Press.

“In our community there is concern, there is discomfort and there is fear of this situation,” Sada Solana said.

SB 4 has created an uproar among Texans and legislators who were against the bill becoming law.

Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, has been fighting the bill. He said he has known about the Mexican government filing an affidavit for months.

“For the last couple of months they wanted to know what I thought was going to happen, and we discussed the litigation to some extent,” Oliveira said.

“They said they were going to go back to their legal counsel and discuss what they were going to play.”

Oliveira was approached by two Mexican counsel members and was pleased with the Mexican government’s action to try to stop SB 4 from being implemented.

With the special session planned July 18, Oliveira doesn’t believe the affidavit will be brought up for discussion before seeing what the federal judges are going to do.

“The case is now pending before Judge Orlando L. Garcia, a man I’ve known for 40 years. We went to law school together, and he’s a very fair judge and he’s willing to take on difficult cases, and I’m sure he’ll look at everything carefully before he makes a decision,” Oliveira said.

Oliveira has received several calls from concerned Cameron County residents saying that they were disappointed and disgusted with SB 4.

“They understand that it’s not about making Texas safer, in fact it makes us less safe,” Oliveira said.

“There’s growing awareness about what the legislation is really about. Even Judge Sam Sparks from Austin commented that he was disappointed about the politics around the legislation.”

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, was another legislator who was against SB 4 becoming law.

“The Mexican government affidavit submitted to the federal court on Senate Bill 4 expresses a sincere concern over the treatment of Mexican citizens and individuals of Mexican descent particularly relating to acts of racial discrimination,” Lucio said.

“Their counsel offices have experienced an increase in calls over the anxiety the law creates for families of both American and Mexican nationalities, like many families along the border.”

Lucio said the legislative items that will be up for discussion are determined by the governor. He said issues regarding immigration are not one of the items up for discussion.

“Should the courts rule the law unconstitutional, the Texas legislature may be addressing this issue again in the 86th legislature, which starts in January of 2019,” Lucio said.