Denton City Council passes resolution supporting SB4 lawsuit

Denton City Council passes resolution supporting SB4 lawsuit

Denton City Council passes resolution supporting SB4 lawsuit
October 20
21:35 2017

The Denton City Council met Tuesday and passed a resolution regarding the city’s response to Senate Bill 4, also known as the sanctuary cities law. The resolution passed 6-1.

The resolution states the City of Denton’s support for the lawsuit filed against the bill by the city of El Cenzio. The lawsuit was filed the day after SB4 was passed by the Texas Legislature. Other cities such as San Antonio, Austin and Houston, as well as El Paso and Maverick counties have since joined the lawsuit.

The deadline for the City of Denton to sign onto the lawsuit has passed.

Initially passed in May of this year, SB4 was designed to help stop sanctuary cities in the state. The law requires local authorities to cooperate and comply with federal immigration entities or risk being fined or removed from their job.

The law would also give permission to local police to inquire about someone’s immigration status during a routine interaction.

Opponents of the bill argue it would enforce racial profiling, as well as make people in the community less safe.

The discussion on the matter began during the council’s work session. Victor Flores, U.S. deputy city attorney for Denton opened the discussion with a presentation detailing the bill.

“What Senate Bill 4 says is the local city cannot adopt or endorse a policy that prohibits or discourages the enforcement of immigration laws,” Flores said.

The council spent almost the next two hours deliberating over the resolution before breaking for a closed meeting.

Later during the city council meeting, several residents of Denton attended to speak out against SB4 and advocate for the resolution. Some residents like Jennifer Lane, didn’t think the resolution was enough.

“The city needs to take a stand,” Lane said to the council. “Joining the [lawsuit] is the best thing we can do. This resolution is the least we can do.”

Almost two dozen residents added their thoughts on the resolution, with almost all in favor. After the residents spoke, the council opened it up for discussion amongst themselves.

City council member John Ryan said his biggest concern with SB4 was the vagueness regarding what a local official can or cannot say about the issue, which could lead to a violation of an official’s first amendment right.

“A comment from one of us on a Facebook post could end up in us being sued or taken out of office,” Ryan said. “Because of that, I am voting in support of this.”

City council member Don Duff, the lone member who voted against the resolution, cited the original reasons why the bill was passed, adding he didn’t think anybody in Denton who was of Hispanic descent had anything to fear if they weren’t a criminal.

Mayor Chris Watts said when he found out this issue was coming before council, he was anxious because of the emotion and politics surrounding it, but added our democracy is rooted in protecting peoples’ rights.

“I support this resolution,” Watts said. “Because what it does is say, ‘I’m going to support a person or an entity’s right to challenge a law.’”

Last month, students from UNT and Texas Woman’s University staged a walkout in protest of SB4. The protest began at Willis Library mall and ended at the Denton Square. The walkout was in response to the bill being blocked by a Texas court a couple days before.

Watts stated at the meeting Denton is not a sanctuary city, saying there was not a clear definition of what that was, but cited the general meaning references other cities who have passed regulations that directly go against federal immigration law.

“The City of Denton has never passed an ordinance or a law that says we are going to ignore federal regulation,” Watts said. “The City of Denton today is not ignoring federal or state law.”

Featured Image: Phil Williams, Denton Municipal Electric general manager, opens an city council meeting for public discussion Tuesday regarding the Renewable Denton Plan at City Hall last year. File

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James Norman

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1 Comment

  1. FROM ALL HISPANICS
    FROM ALL HISPANICS October 25, 11:09

    y’all need to shut up about this whole immigrants. Not everyone is the same, take it this way, Americans get frustrated /upset because some people call them “crackers” or “school shooters” or others treat them less, right? Or with African American people they also get so mad when others call them “niggas” or “niggers” and see them as a “member of the kkk” or anything like that. So then why treat US less? What makes it right??! We get pointed at,called “beaners” or even “dangerous criminals” . You go outside &a what do you see. HISPANIC PEOPLE . WE BUILT EVERY MF BUILDING. YALL WHITE PEOPLE DONT DO SHIT. WE EARN OUR MONEY, WE WORK HARD TO GET OUR FAMILY THROUGH. AND THAT IS HOW YALL AMERICANS WANNA PAY USBACK. IF ITWASNT BECAUSEOF US, YALL WOULDNT BE FUCKEN SHIT . YES,I AM CUSSING ONLY BECAUSE I HAVE GOTTEN ENOUGH OF THIS. I LIVED IN DTX (Denton,Tx) MOSTOF MY LIFE. FROM AGE 5 TO 15 years of age. I RECENTLY MOVED TO CALIFORNIA BECAUSE OF THIS STUPID RACIST SB4 LAW.& JUST MOVED TO VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON BECAUSE WE COULD NOT FIND ANYPLACES AVAILABLE FOR US TO STAY IN.. MY FAMILY &I ARE STRUGGLING BECAUSE OF THIS LAW. BUT WE ARE NOT GONNA GIVE UP. WE WILL WORK TOGETHER. AS A UNION. IM TALKING FOR ALL HISPANICS .

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