After a three hour executive session, the San Marcos City Council gave a statement Aug. 15 announcing it will not be joining the lawsuit alongside Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio against Senate Bill 4.
SB 4, also known as the “sanctuary cities” bill, would allow law enforcement officials to ask the immigration status of those they arrest or detain.
Mayor John Thomaides read the statement regarding city council’s position on the bill, which was unanimously approved.
“City council is directing the staff to monitor the pending litigation to let the decision of U.S. district judge Orlando Garcia guide the city’s future actions in regards to SB 4,” Thomaides read. “City council further believes that immigration is a federal government responsibility.”
During the Tuesday evening meeting, City Hall was filled with activists and protestors holding up signs and wearing white in solidarity of protecting undocumented immigrants.
During public commentary, Jordan Buckley, San Marcos resident, said city council needs to assess the racial dynamics in the San Marcos community.
“This body has been all white minus one for far too long, and I think if there’s not been a clear moment to recognize the need for single member districts then you guys have embodied that by waiting three months to find the importance of this issue being addressed,” Buckley said. “It’s taken you three months and sixteen days to address the most severe anti-immigrant and discriminatory law takes effect in our town, and today is the day that we bring it up. I ask you that if this body composition reflected that of our community, would we have had to wait three months to have this conversation?”
In the city council’s statement, Thomaides said the council’s time to take a stance on SB 4 was not due to “a lack of care or concern for their residents.”
“The San Marcos City Council hereby expresses concerns of the effects of SB 4 on our entire community and will initiate additional community outreach and communication with our police and other city departments to maintain and improve trust and ensure health, mental health, safety, and welfare of all residents, their families and children and students of our community.” Thomaides read in the statement.
Mano Amiga SMTX responded to City Council’s decision through a statement expressing their disdain.
“Council insists they will now educate the immigrant community, but it’s Council that needs the education. They used lies and distortion to justify their spineless decision, insultingly employing thoroughly disproven arguments and a spectacularly rare legal interpretation that, would you believe it, enable them to sit on the sidelines while Texas cities all around us rise to this moral crisis by taking a stand for immigrants and people of color in their communities,” a part of the post stated.
SB 4 will go into effect Sept. 1.