Harris County will not join suit over state's 'sanctuary cities' law

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor , Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - Harris County commissioners decided Tuesday not to join a lawsuit filed against the state’s controversial sanctuary cities law.

The decision came, by default, when no one seconded Commissioner Rodney Ellis' motioned that the county  join Houston and other Texas cities and counties in the suit.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said the county's decision does not mean that the body agrees with the law. 

However, Emmett said he was not sure if the county could sue the state, because the state establishes counties.

“We are an arm of state government. So it would be like suing ourselves," Emmett said. "But other people will say four counties have already done it. That means 250 counties have not."

“Be brave. Be bold and lead. Your time is up,” a protester shouted from the back of the room. 

The woman was removed from the chambers after claiming that if the body took no action, then it was a sign that the court supported what some call the "show me your papers" law.

Senate Bill 4 allows police to ask people their immigration status during traffic stops, and would punish sheriffs and police chiefs who refuse federal immigration hold requests.

State Rep. Armando Walle and state Sen. Sylvia Garcia went before the commissioners to ask that they sue the state.

“Since it was first introduced, Senate Bill 4 has gone from a bad bill to a worse bill," Garcia said. "That’s why I’m here today to ask HC to join us and the courts to stop its implementation.”

Without an injunction, the law will go into effect Sept. 1.

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