The settlement agreement, which Attorney General Ken Paxton publicized with a press release today, requires the city to train the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) with a revised policy reviewed and approved by the attorney general. The city also must pay the attorney general $300,000. Both parties agree to end the lawsuits by filing motions to dismiss or nonsuit with prejudice, meaning the same claims cannot be tried again in another court.
“It is time for cities like San Antonio to wake up and realize their misguided approach to immigration is not only reckless, but it has also made the influx of dangerous narcotics and human trafficking much worse,” Attorney General Paxton stated.
“I have fought relentlessly to secure our border and I will continue to take essential steps to protecting every city in our great state.”
San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia disagreed with Paxton’s characterization of the unrevised SAPD manual, saying it allows officers to cooperate with federal law enforcement.
“Frankly, they were misinterpreting language in the [police] manual that talked about referral to federal authorities,” Segovia said.
The state legislature passed a law in 2017 aimed at banning sanctuary cities in Texas. Sanctuary cities limit cooperation with federal immigration law enforcement in order to shield illegal immigrants from deportation.
The text of the state law says that cities and counties cannot adopt a policy that “materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws.”
Litigation against the city arose in November 2018 after the attorney general received several complaints, some filed by SAPD officers, claiming SAPD Chief William McManus blocked federal police from investigating illegal immigrants detained in the city.
Specifically, McManus was accused of violating the law when he released 12 immigrants found in an 18-wheeler in 2017 to local charities instead of turning them over to federal authorities. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent says SAPD refused to let him question the smuggled immigrants.
The attorney general’s web page for receiving complaints from citizens about sanctuary cities in Texas no longer exists.
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