Fort Worth to vote on joining sanctuary cities lawsuit

The Fort Worth city council is expected to vote late Tuesday night on whether to join a lawsuit against the new sanctuary cities law.

The law allows police to question anyone who is detained or arrested about their immigration status. Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston are already part of it.

The Fort Worth council chambers filled up in just a few minutes. Of the 121 speakers who signed up to speak, 88 of them wanted to speak on this issue.

Councilman Carlos Flores read his proposal which urges the council to join Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio in a lawsuit against Senate Bill 4, the state's new anti-sanctuary cities law that allows a police officer to ask a person in custody, about his or her immigration status unless that person is a victim of a crime or has reported a crime.

The law would also punish law enforcement agencies that violate the law. It goes into effect September 1st.

After Flores read his proposal, citizen comment began. Among the first to speak was Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.                     

"This law is going to be very difficult for us to enforce,” he said. “We do, however, represent a police department and we represent law and order and we are called to enforce the laws we’re given. With that being said, our mission is to protect each and every person in this city whether you're a citizen or not."

Much like last week, there were those who gathered to protest SB4. Several hundred joined in a solidarity walk organized by the Tarrant County Democratic Party. They are urging city leaders to join the lawsuit against SB4.

One of the protesters, Sandra Garcia, says she and her relatives are immigrants.

"I don't want them to be stopped and profiled because of their last name or because of their skin color,” she said. “I want them to live here without having to carry a document saying I'm a US citizen.”

The council will listen to the remainder of the citizens’ comments before taking action on the proposal.

Council members expect Tuesday’s meeting to go past midnight.                

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