Palmview, La Joya propose joining lawsuit against SB 4

PALMVIEW — The commissioners for the cities of Palmview and La Joya are set to vote on whether to join several major cities around the state in their lawsuit against the SB 4 law. Senate Bill 4 prohibits localities in the state from putting in place or having policies that prevent local officials from sharing immigration-related information with the federal government.

“I’m recommending that we do file a lawsuit against them,” said La Joya Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas. “I think throughout the years, the injustices done against Hispanics are terrible and it continues.”

The new law allows local law enforcement to question legally detained or arrested people about their immigration status, directs local law-enforcement officials to cooperate with immigration detainer requests from the federal government. It also prohibits localities in Texas from implementing or maintaining policies that prevent local officials from sharing immigration-related information with the federal government. The law goes into effect Sept. 1.

Opponents of the law state it would foster fear among Hispanic and immigrant communities.

“The majority in the Valley are Hispanic,” Salinas said. “They can’t afford to be stopping everybody because they want to find a few criminals.”

Palmview Commissioner Javier Ramirez said he opposed the law because he believed it would, among other things, negatively affect many families.

“I work at a school and I can honestly tell you that anywhere between 20 and 30 percent of our parents are probably undocumented but their kids are legal citizens,” Ramirez said. “What’s going to happen if these people get pulled over and they don’t have papers?”

Ramirez along with Palmview Commissioners Joel Garcia and Linda Sarabia attended the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) convention in Dallas last week.

The convention mainly focused on SB 4 and on Thursday in Dallas, hundreds of NALEO members passed a resolution condemning the law.

NALEO is a non-partisan leadership organization of the nation’s more than 6,100 Latino elected and appointed officials. Nearly 1,000 of them attended this year’s conference.

“Mostly it was about Senate Bill 4 and how we should all oppose it as Latinas and Latinos and we should all band together and challenge this law,” Ramirez said. “That’s what we intend to do in Palmview.”

However, joining the suit will have to be approved by the majority of the city commission, which will hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue.

If both Palmview and La Joya agree to move forward in fighting the law, they would be joining other cities around the state including El Paso, Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio.

A federal judge in San Antonio heard arguments in the case, though an opinion has not been handed down.

Both cities here will discuss and consider the issue on Thursday during special meetings. La Joya will hold its meeting at 12:15 p.m. while Palmview will hold its meeting at 6 p.m.

“I’m not saying that we’re going to violate the law, I’m just saying that we’re going to be against the law,” Salinas said. “Hopefully it can be rescinded, but it’s very, very bad for Hispanic people especially here at the border.”