The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Texas filed the first motion to block the anti-immigrant and anti-law enforcement law known as Texas Senate Bill (SB4) before it takes effect.

The law, recently signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, strips localities and local law enforcement in the state of the authority to determine how to best use their limited resources to ensure the safety of their communities. The law also turns Texas into a “show me your papers” state. Law enforcement leaders throughout Texas and the country strongly oppose the law.

The motion, filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, the City of El Cenizo, the City’s Mayor Raul Reyes, Maverick County and elected officials of the county and  Texas LULAC and its members, asks a federal district court in San Antonio to block implementation of SB4. In this motion, the ACLU demonstrates that several provisions of SB4 are unconstitutional.

The district court has struck down most of Senate Bill 4, a law that was slated to take effect September 1. Please visit our SB4 page for a more thorough explanation of what this ruling means for Texas.

The State of Texas immediately appealed the district court's preliminary injunction order to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and moved for an emergency stay of the order. After a hearing on September 22, 2017, in New Orleans, the 5th Circuit Court unblocked only the detainer mandate, leaving largely in place the injunction. On November 7, 2017, the Court of Appeals held a hearing on the full merits.

Update (3/13/18): A federal appeals court upheld portions of Texas’ anti-immigrant SB4 law. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the law.

Please see legal documents attached below.

Date filed

May 25, 2017


United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division


The Honorable Orlando Garcia



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