Congressman joins protesters in rally against 'sanctuary city' ban at Governor's Mansion

Texas asks judge if SB 4 is constitutional

AUSTIN - The morning after Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed Senate Bill 4 (SB4) into law, protestors were back outside his mansion.

"Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! SB4 has got to go," they chanted.

They held signs and lined the ground with handmade banners of opposition.

"While we think SB4 is hateful, while we are shocked by the point that he would brag about warming up his signing pen to demonize the immigrants behind me and throughout this state, we are not surprised," said Representative Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), as he joined the protests.

While the Governor's decision to sign the bill into law didn't surprise Anchia, the 13-year member of the Texas Legislature says he is surprised about how Abbott signed it.

Sunday evening, seated alone in his office, Abbott went live on Facebook to sign the bill with no advance notice given to lawmakers, the public or the media.

It was a stark contrast to the signing of the first 85th Legislative Session bill signing that happened just five days before.

Then, Abbott invited the media to see him sign a bill prohibiting the state from conducting business with companies that boycott Israel in a packed room, surrounded by the bill's author and other lawmakers.

"It really is unprecedented," said Anchia. "I mean the fact that there were overwhelming numbers of people including police chiefs, the entire faith community, the business community that were against this bill and the governor chose to sign it behind closed doors on a Sunday night. An evening that should be all about faith and family and he signed this discriminatory bill. That is weakness and that's not leadership."

KVUE News requested an interview with the Governor, but were told he would be unable to work it into his schedule. As to why he chose to sign the bill on Facebook, Abbott's Press Secretary John Wittman told us in a statement, "We’re going to where most people are getting their news nowadays and talking directly to them instead of speaking through a filter.”

Abbott's action is also getting criticism from lawmakers on Capitol Hill. U.S. Congressman Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) also joined protesters outside the Governor's Mansion Monday morning. 

"Immigration law is a federal matter. How it is and why it is that the state can suddenly come involved in the enforcement of immigration laws, I think, raises some serious legal issues," said Doggett. "And I hope that this law will be challenged not only on the streets, but in the courtrooms because it is fundamentally wrong and unjust."

Now that Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed the first suit, it appears it's up to the courts to decide if SB 4 is constitutional or not. Anchia believes justice won't be on the bill's side. 

Read More: In preemptive move, Paxton files suit to uphold constitutionality of 'sanctuary cities' bill

"When history looks back on Governor Abbott, they're going to see the most anti-Latino Governor in Texas modern history. And while he likes to trot out members of his family as a shield to protect him against these claims, it is not who he's married to or who he's the son in law of, it is the record that he has including six federal court decisions when he was Attorney General that found intentional discrimination against Latinos and African Americans here in the State of Texas that he vigorously defended," Anchia said to the crowd. "But that he lost. And so Governor, with all the vibrato that he had behind closed doors, with security around him, in his Governor's Mansion, claiming that he was confident that this law would stand the test of the courts, I say, Governor, we'll see you in court."

SB 4 is set to go into effect September 1, 2017. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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