December 14, 2018

Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Texas' Sanctuary Cities Ban

14 March 2018, 10:29 | Randall Craig

US Appeals Court Upholds Texas' Anti-Sanctuary Cities Law

Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law Mostly Survives Appeal Court Fight

The ruling Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans allows Texas to enforce what critics call the toughest state-level immigration measure in the country.

The main issue at hand is whether local law enforcement is required to cooperate with federal immigration officials and if the police should be allowed to question the immigration status of those who breaks the law.

Now Judge Edith Jones wrote in her ruling that none of the challenged provisions of SB4 facially violate the constitution.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also praised the ruling, saying in a statement that SB 4 is constitutional and protects the safety of law enforcement officers and all Texans.

Activists decried the decision, as did a number of progressive lawmakers, who pointed to the wide-reaching ramifications of the law. "Today's ruling is one step in what is likely a long legal battle, and I remain hopeful that this law will eventually be ruled unconstitutional by the courts". They said detainers forced state or local police to hold illegal immigrants beyond their usual release time, infringing on their Fourth Amendment rights.

State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), chairman for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of the Texas House, also argued the legislation would immediately harm families.

Known as SB4, the law Mr. Abbott signed past year requires police to determine the legal status of those they encounter during their duties. Those warrants serve as a statement of probable cause that local police can rely on to hold someone - just as they would do for any other police officer who makes a valid request.

"W$3 e need to respond and act, within the law, to preserve as much of that trust as possible", Adler said.

Texas, however, had been a rare bright spot for the Trump administration, with state officials moving to back him up in opposing sanctuaries.

According to the Texas Tribune, in August 2017, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia issued a preliminary injunction and halted the portion of the bill requiring jail officials to honor all detainers and another portion "that prohibits a pattern or practice that materially limits the enforcement of immigration laws". Appointed and elected officials, meanwhile, could be removed from office.

Shortly after the bill was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, most large cities in Texas, including Austin, filed a lawsuit alleging constitutional violations.

People protest outside a speech by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions March 7, 2018, in Sacramento, California.

While Austin is not officially a sanctuary city, Hernandez took office vowing to fix relations between police and immigrant communities, prioritizing safety in the area over identifying immigration status.

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