May 8, 2017

San Antonio, TX - Please attribute the following statement on the filing of a federal lawsuit today by the State of Texas against MALDEF to Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund):

"First, MALDEF is extremely proud to stand with the brave officials of Austin and Travis County in defending wise and constitutional policies to protect public safety and to prevent discrimination, in pursuit of a shared goal of making Texas the example of successful immigrant integration that it should be. MALDEF is also proud to be recognized as forward representative of the millions of Texans who reject the odious SB 4 as wholly inconsistent with state history, origins, and future aspirations. As an organization founded in Texas and with a powerful and continuing presence in San Antonio for nearly half a century, MALDEF has an undeniable interest in getting Texas back on track following the enactment of this legislative derailment.

That said, this is a frivolous legal action, filed precipitously and without basis in the law. Rather than wait for aggrieved individuals and entities to pursue their many constitutional challenges to SB 4, the state bespeaks its own apparent high anxiety about the legality of Abbott’s Folly, SB 4, by seeking a preemptive strike through this lawsuit. Moreover, as if helplessly condemned to follow a failed script ordained long in the past, Texas repeats a gambit attempted by California Gov. Pete Wilson in defending the notorious Proposition 187 over 20 years ago. So, MALDEF has been through this before; we successfully defeated Wilson’s preemptive suit, and will do the same here.

We will see you in court, Governor Abbott. In the meantime, we hope that both the governor and the attorney general will seek treatment for an apparent problem with premature litigation."

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund