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Criminal Justice

San Antonio approves $300K settlement in 2017 human smuggling case

San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia (left) speaks about the settlement regarding a 2017 human smuggling incident. City Manager Erik Walsh stands center, and Deputy City Manager María Villagómez is to the right.
Joey Palacios
/
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia (left) speaks about the settlement regarding a 2017 human smuggling incident. City Manager Erik Walsh stands center, and Deputy City Manager María Villagómez is to the right.

The City of San Antonio will pay $300,000 to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office in a settlement to end two lawsuits over a 2017 human smuggling incident. Paxton sued the city saying it violated the state’s controversial Senate Bill 4 — known as an anti-sanctuary cities law.

The City of San Antonio and several other Texas cities sued the state over SB4 before it became law. While the law was overturned by a federal judge in San Antonio, most of it was reinstated by the 5th circuit where it is still pending.

In late December 2017, there were 12 migrants found in a trailer near Splashtown. SAPD and Homeland Security Investigations were both on site, but HSI did not take them into custody according to the city. Catholic Charities then picked them up instead. Paxton alleged the city violated SB4, which the city denies.

City Attorney Andy Segovia said the settlement will end costly litigation in which the city has already spent $6.3 million in attorneys and other fees.

“We were fully confident that we were ready, that we would prevail, but given how much was at at stake, over $100 million in potential fines. Again this resolution was best for the city,” Segovia said.

The city says the settlement does not admit any wrongdoing or violation of the law.