It wasn’t unanimous, but Dallas City Council members approved a resolution on Wednesday condemning SB 4 — the Texas law that allows peace officers to arrest suspected illegal aliens.

“We can’t change state law here at a local level, but we can tell our residents through our action that we prioritize their safety and condemn this atrocious bill that seeks to encourage profiling and discrimination,” Council Member Adam Bazaldua (District 7) said.

Bazaldua repeated the same assertion he made during a Quality of Life, Arts, & Culture Committee meeting on May 20. He also authored the resolution against the law.

“We have seen where there has been a tug of war for political posturing, and I would encourage that we don’t allow for our police department, our law enforcement officers, to be strained to do something that I believe to be unconstitutional ultimately — aside from the fact that it is outside of the City’s purview to enforce immigration law,” he said during the committee meeting. “The last thing that we need is a stop-and-frisk mentality for certain vulnerable communities in [Dallas].”

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, illegal immigration has hit record-breaking numbers under the Biden administration, with the State of Texas taking some measures into its own hands to stem the number of illegal crossings from Mexico.

In December 2023, Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 4 into law, but the legislation remains in limbo while the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reviews a lower court’s ruling that blocked its implementation, The Texas Tribune has reported.

Illegal aliens arrested under SB 4 face Class B misdemeanors, punishable by up to six months in jail. Repeat offenders may be prosecuted as felons and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. The legislation also requires state judges to order illegal aliens to “return to the foreign nation from which the person entered or attempted to enter,” but charges could be dropped if they agree to return to their countries of origin.

“Let me first … say in my 33 years in law enforcement, there’s always been fear in, particularly, our immigrant community,” Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia told City leaders at Wednesday’s council meeting. “I’m very sensitive to the fact our immigrant community is fearful.”

“SB 4 in no way supersedes banning racial profiling. … If SB 4 were to pass the legal methods that are [underway] right now … it prohibits the police chief from prohibiting his or her officers from enforcing the law. We’ve already gotten together and started formalizing a policy,” Garcia said.

Those discussions have included the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, according to Garcia.

“Every police chief in this country needs their immigrant community, particularly their diverse community, their undocumented community. We don’t differentiate crime on immigration status. If this passes, we have no choice but to have policies in place because we cannot prohibit its enforcement,” Garcia said.

Council Member Cara Mendelsohn (District 12) was one of three council members to vote against the resolution.

“I am trying to understand the point of this entire conversation,” she said. “The resolution is simply political performance that will degrade the relationship we have with state leaders and change absolutely nothing. It’s a divisive effort that oversteps the boundaries of our elected office.”

Council Member Paul Ridley (District 14) and Mayor Eric Johnson also voted against the resolution. Council Member Jaime Resendez (District 5) was absent during the vote.

“I do condemn SB 4,” Ridley said. “It is bad legislation — so bad that I believe it to be unconstitutional and ultimately will be overturned by the courts on that ground. At the same time, I see this resolution as not remedying the passage of SB 4. It cannot — and no one should expect it to — because we don’t have the authority to overturn [the Texas Legislature]. So, I cannot support it in its current form.”