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SB4 Protesters Rally Outside Courthouse On Law's Day In Court

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Joey Palacios
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Texas Public Radio
Elected officials join the 250 protesters outside the federal courthouse during a break of the hearing.

The state’s anti-sanctuary cities law is having its day in federal court Monday. Texas’ largest cities are suing over the law’s constitutionality. Protesters surrounded San Antonio Courthouse to voice their opposition to the law. They say it would lead to racial profiling.

Despite the heat and even rain at some points more than 250 organized protesters held a rally outside San Antonio’s Federal Courthouse. Texas’ Senate Bill 4 allows police officers and other law enforcement to ask questions about someone’s immigration status when detained.

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Sillar gives a prayer and plea against the law

Protester Juanita Valdez-Cox  took to the stage to say the law targets Texans of color. “Those of us that look foreign will be subjected to detention, to immigration checks, and to arrests, because of our skin color, our accent or our language,” Valdez-Cox says.

The Cities of San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Houston and other entities are all part of the lawsuit. San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg and Austin Mayor Steve Adler say the law will make communities more afraid to reach out to police.

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Members of LULAC's local chapter attended Monday's rally. LULAC, MALDEF, and the ACLU are three entities suing Texas over the law.

“Anti-immigration legislation that would make intolerance the law of the land is bad for business,  it divides our communities, and make no mistake about it – let’s listen to our law enforcement officials, it makes our communities more dangerous,” Nirenberg says.

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
A man only identified as "Alex" attended Monday's rally to show his support for SB4

“Justice and equity – if it is going to delivered in this state – seems to be up to the cities to deliver it,” Adler says.

The law also requires jails to comply detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It also forbids elected officials from taking a stance against immigration policy with the threat of removal of office. It’s unknown when Judge Orlando Garcia – a Clinton appointee – will make his decision. In San Antonio.