About 50 people gathered Monday to rebuke the new sanctuary cities law that Gov. Greg Abbott signed Sunday.
"The new Texas law was blasted by opponents as the nation's toughest on immigrants since Arizona's crackdown in 2010, disparagingly known as the "papers, please" provision".
"Every major police chief in Texas, which includes some of the largest cities in the USA, opposed the measure that allows police to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they detain, a situation that can range from arrest for a crime to being stopped for a traffic violation".
Between 2008 and 2012, the ACLU said, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement requested local jails to hold 834 USA citizens, including some who spent additional days in jail because of the error.
"I have a moral objection to the Sanctuary Cities Law".
"As governor, my top priority is public safety, and this bill furthers that objective by keeping risky criminals off our streets", Abbott said in a press release. Republicans reject claims that the law will lead to racial profiling and say it's needed to keep criminals off the streets.
The lawsuit, which also names Travis County and a slew of local officials, including the Austin mayor and city council members, as defendants, is a proactive measure to allow the U.S. District Court to uphold the constitutionality of the new law in a single sweeping decision and avoid individual lawsuits challenging the legislation.
The bill won't take effect until September 1.
The term "sanctuary cities" has no legal definition, but Republicans want local police to help federal immigration agents crack down on criminal suspects in the USA illegally.
"No one has to do anything different from the way they've been operating their lives before this law was signed", he said referring to a situation where someone is stopped for a traffic violation, "because it poses no danger, no challenge, no difficulty, for any American citizen". Civil rights organizations are preparing to fight back - in court.
"They did not connect the history of our culture or how closely that it is tied to Mexico", Democratic state. "They don't really see this as affecting people".
The law's author, Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), said police can already inquire about the immigration status of a person they detain, during a Q&A on the Senate Floor during final passage of the bill.
"I think this sends a message that Hispanics are not welcome in Texas and Hispanics are not valued", she added, though the bill only targets illegal immigrants.
The term "sanctuary city" has no legal definition, and Texas doesn't now have any cities that have formally declared themselves sanctuaries for immigrants. "It helped build America and Texas", Abbott said.