Los Angeles, CA – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement today in response to a lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General’s office against the City of San Antonio over an incident involving smuggled immigrants and the purported application of state immigration enforcement statute SB 4:

“The state-court lawsuit filed today by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton against the City of San Antonio has three obvious purposes: to intimidate and frighten immigrants in the state of Texas, to pressure Texas localities to violate constitutional rights, and to attract public attention for Paxton from the nativist fringe.

“The suit overstates the requirements of SB 4, particularly after the state law was substantially narrowed in interpretation by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The lawsuit ignores the constitutional rights of all persons, including recently-arrived immigrants. Finally, today’s filing demonizes all immigrants as criminals, even young victims of crime.

“Of course, this trifecta of misconstruing the law, ignoring the Constitution, and targeting the vulnerable is nothing new for Paxton, but seems to characterize his entire flawed understanding of the rule of law in the United States.

“Plainly, Paxton is once again mimicking Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, perhaps in a vain audition for the latter’s recently-resigned job.

“No one – neither immigrant nor local official – should be intimidated by today’s filing. Constitutional rectitude will be vindicated by the courts.”