MISSION — City Council members unanimously passed a resolution Monday opposing Senate Bill 4, joining a growing list of Rio Grande Valley governments, yet without the impassioned sentiments of immigrant rights activists who’ve attended similar meetings elsewhere.
Whereas other cities, such as Pharr and San Juan, were prompted by residents to consider similar resolutions, the Mission City Council acted on its own in drafting and subsequently voting for its resolution.
“We wanted to make it known that we don’t agree with the deal,” Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas said.
The economic impact of the bill, which gives local law enforcement the power to inquire about immigration status during routine traffic stops, was a major factor in the council’s decision, Salinas said.
“People from Mexico are staying away from our commerce and are not coming to this side,” he said. “I think (the resolution) would show some support to the Mexican shopper … we want people in Mexico to understand that we want things to be the way they were before.”
On whether some fear harassment, Salinas added, “I hear it from people in Mexico. They kind of feel offended.”
He also noted that undocumented residents harbor apprehension over leaving their homes, which also hurts the city’s economy.
In opposing “the implementation and enforcement” of the law, Mission’s resolution is now the first in the Valley to reference the Aug. 31 federal district court decision that temporarily halted most of the law from taking effect Sept. 1.
“The federal district court has recognized the public interest in protecting constitutional rights, maintaining trust in local law enforcement entities and avoiding the heavy burdens that the new law imposes on local entities,” the resolution states, adding that the city “supports the efforts of all local governments to uphold the U.S. Constitution by resisting efforts to dismantle it with discriminatory and suppressive legislation such as Senate Bill 4.”
The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments Sept. 22 regarding Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to lift the block on SB 4.
Staff writer Berenice Garcia contributed to this report.