Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

The legal case against the “sanctuary cities” bill

Ken Paxton says that the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill meets legal muster, and the state won’t get sued to smithereens if it passes. Not all lawyers agree with that.

Best mugshot ever

The office of the Texas Attorney General can no better predict when the Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl than it can how an appeals court will rule on an immigration case that could have statewide repercussions.

That assessment from Faye M. Kolly, a senior immigration attorney with De Mott, McChesney, Curtright, & Armendáriz LLP, comes in response to a letter Attorney General Ken Paxton sent to lawmakers earlier this month reassuring them that Senate Bill 4, which seeks to ban “sanctuary” counties and campuses in Texas, would withstand an inevitable court challenge.

The bill by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, seeks to punish local entities if their law enforcement agencies fail to honor requests, known as detainers, from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to hand over immigrants in custody for possible deportation. It would also punish entities that enact policies preventing local law enforcement from asking about immigration status.

Paxton’s reassurances — an unusual communication from the attorney general’s office — came last week after a 16-hour-long hearing featuring testimony from various immigration attorneys, Kolly among them, warning that the bill would lead to costly lawsuits that Texas was likely to lose.

“Our review of the law concludes CSSB 4 is constitutional, there are viable methods for covered entities to avoid liability regarding invalid detainers, and the remainder of the legal concerns are unfounded,” Paxton wrote.

Paxton’s letter to senators prompted the partners of Kolly’s firm to respond in kind, hoping their experience in this legal area would persuade undecided lawmakers that the bill both Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have declared a priority of the session is not worth the effort.

Senators were unfazed and passed the measure last week on a party-line, 20-11 vote, sending it to the lower chamber for consideration.

Kolly said the attorneys will now try and convince House members to reject the bill, again pressing the argument that doing so would allow the state to avoid costly legal challenges and the possible erosion of Texans’ Fourth Amendment rights.

“[Paxton’s assertions] are completely speculative, and case law is contrary to that speculation,” Kolly said.

See here for the background. The story details the legal arguments that Kolly pus forth, which I am not qualified to evaluate. Given her seeming disdain for Paxton’s opinion, perhaps the Senate would have been wise to engage an attorney who isn’t an obvious homer. Assuming they wanted facts and not merely what they wanted to hear, of course. None of this matters until it gets to a courtroom, but at least we know it’s not as clear and easy as Ken Paxton would like you to think.

Related Posts:


  1. Neither Here Nor There says:

    The elephant in the Democratic room, the persons who are here undocumented. Everyone is afraid to address the issue and yet the families and friends of many of them could be the difference in whether Harris County is Blue in 2018.

    I don’t believe a single person that wants the position of Democratic Chair has addressed that issue.

    The Republicans (the Red Party the party of Lenin) have been out maneuvering the Democrats for the last 16 years, give or take a few. They frame the questions to their advantage and the smart people (The intellectuals, the Blue Party) have failed to respond in a winning way. One can be too smart when one refuses to play a game by the same rules the other side follows, simply because one does not agree with the ethics of the rules.

    Remember the Republican Party is party of liars.

    At least Kuffner is publishing what is a taboo subject within the Democratic Party.

  2. Neither Here Nor There says:

    On another topic, thanks to the Republicans and Turkey, Chile, and Mexico we are not at the bottom when it comes to health care, opportunities to move up the economic ladder, and equality, etc.

    It has become harder for people in the lower part of the middle class to send their children to college, thanks to the Leninist Party, aka the Republican Party.

    The chances of moving up the economic ladder is much harder. It is a travesty when the money earned by the sweat of hard work is taxed at a higher rate than the money earned by the persons who do not produce anything. Wages are taxed higher than Capital Income.

    The Leninist Party has done that by picking at the smaller groups in the Democratic Party, but now they are after the Unions. Unions have more to fear from Republicans than they do from undocumented persons taking their jobs. Like all rules there are exceptions.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    The good thing about all this is, at least our AG and his legal staff will have plenty of time on their hands to fight the inevitable lawsuit, since they aren’t suing the federal government on a weekly basis anymore.

    It’s still simply amazing to me why people are pushing so hard to protect and coddle criminals among us, and that is what we are talking about…..people who have been arrested for crimes committed in the US (beyond illegal entry or overstaying a visa). If an illegal alien doesn’t end up in jail for committing a new crime in the US, this is all just window dressing. If you are a sanctuary city, and no illegals get arrested, then there is nobody to argue about not deporting. It’s a moot point.

    Here’s Alinksy’s tactic working for good for a change. This bill is isolating criminal illegal aliens….it is personalizing them, it is making it an us vs. them topic, and there are a lot more “us” (people who don’t like criminals) than there are them (criminal illegals and their supporters). Even some people who would like to see another amnesty can see the value in getting rid of the criminals, and not including them in the amnesty.

    But hey, Neither, you keep on tilting at this windmill, and see where it gets you. I’m betting most Texans don’t want to keep criminals in their neighborhoods, and there aren’t going to be that many single issue voters that do want illegal alien criminals to remain in their neighborhoods. Expect this to look a whole lot like the HERO. A small, but vocal, minority, want to keep criminals from being deported, and then there is everyone else who is not a friend or family member of those criminals who would just like to go through life without being a victim of crime, and who would prefer to not live next to a drug dealer.

    And Neither, let me remind you about another filthy communist who wanted to get rid of illegal alien criminals:

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    One more comment about Bil Clinton…

    The Dems are clearly not the party of JFK anymore. What’s really surprising is that they aren’t even the party of Bill Clinton anymore. Bill supported the crime bill that was responsible for reducing crime as a whole, in the US. He reduced the welfare rolls. He also, as that You Tube clip shows, opposed illegal aliens, and more specifically, opposed criminal illegal aliens. And the ironic thing about all that is, those should be non partisan issues that every American citizen can get behind.

  5. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bill the words you choose to use are part of the Leninist Party= Red Party = Republican Party method to dehumanize people. It is an old tactic that has been used for thousands of years.

    Bill you read what you want to into statements or maybe it is a lack of comprehension, but racists, bigots, and Leninists have to be responded to or the lies that they spread will be repeated and believed by those that want to blame others for the miserable lives that they usually live.

    Republicans are tax cheaters, liars, and overall lazy people who live off the government. They hate people who work and make decent wages. They hate people with decent pension plans thus the constant attack on the police and firemen in Houston. They hate every thing and everyone that is not like that them. Are the statements general statements, yes, but they are no different than what you do.

  6. Neither Here Nor There says:

    So I am a filthy communists, really Bill, you support a person who became president because of the Russians and I am a communist?

    Think on that Bill, you like the real president Bannon are supporters of Lenin. Do you know who that is?

    Just in case you want to know more about the persons you follow;

  7. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Bill I forgot the above includes statement about Republicans includes people that call themselves Libertarians (or any other name) and or partial Libertarians. Those would be people that use general statement to describe whole groups of people. If that shoe fits Bill wear it.

  8. Neither Here Nor There says:

    By the way Bill the Great Generation, those that lived through the depression and fought WWII were and are followers of the policies of FDR. They knew that government was not bad and the source that would benefit the common man.

  9. C. L. says:


    Wow, way too broad a brush stroke. Republicans are tax cheats, liars, and lazy folk ? You lost me (and your argument failed) as soon as you started typing.

  10. Bill Daniels says:

    Neither, you read my comments all wrong. You are the one that labeled anyone who is for deporting criminal undocumented residents as a communist. So that makes me a communist, as well as a bigoted, racist, misogynistic homophobe. OK, I accept your pronouncement of that as fact, even though I am a small business owner, so it would be really odd that I would be a communist, but whatever. I just want you to acknowledge that Bill Clinton, who said the same thing I am saying now, is also a communist, bigoted, racist, misogynistic homophobe. Watch the clip. He uses the same language of the communists, right? By your own standard, Bill Clinton is an ardent supporter of Lenin, and communism.

  11. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Define, “criminal illegal aliens” Bill. I know that has mean everyone that is here illegally for you in the past. Has the definition changed?

    C.L. rational people will see that it is broad, so why is it that you can’t see through Bill’s statements? Is that rational thinking limited? When Republicans use terms like liberals, what does that mean? Have you ever read any books on politics or war?

    C.L. should I have planted an exception, “Some I guess may not tax cheats, liars and lazy”? Would that make acceptable? Maybe some extra reading might help.

    Below is a short article, read it an think on it, and then say how the words “criminal illegal alien” fits into that pattern. All I am doing is stating that if Bill and other like him want to do that, then the same should be done to them. As the old book says an eye for an eye.

  12. C. L. says:

    @ Neither… If you’re going to equate any current US political party with the ideologies associated with Lenin, me thinks you should do some reading up on the subject.

  13. Bill Daniels says:


    You disagree with Neither? You’re a communist, too! Welcome to the club, comrade!

  14. Bill Daniels says:

    Here’s a sanctuary city success story:

    NYC lets a MS-13 gang banger, undocumented immigrant loose, back in NYC, because virtue signaling is more important than public safety.