Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Texas' Sanctuary Cities Ban
Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Texas' Sanctuary Cities Ban
Texas' Ban on 'Sanctuary Cities' Can Begin, Appeals Court Rules
14 March, 2018, 22:27
A federal appeals court upheld most provisions of a controversial Texas law that prohibits sanctuary city policies in the state - a win for Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
A three-judge panel declared Tuesday evening that Senate Bill 4 (SB4), a law targeting so-called sanctuary cities, can go forward, seven months after it was meant to take effect. The major cities that were plaintiffs in the suit said they had been abiding by all legal US detainer requests. Localities can refuse based on their own resources, the court ruled - but the detainer requests are legal, the judges said.
Mike Siegel, assistant city attorney in Austin and a Democratic candidate for Congress, tweeted that Tuesday's ruling is a "terrible result". "Law is in effect". A provision that would have made local officials subject to fines, jail time or even removal from office for "endorsing" policies that impede enforcement of immigration laws remains under injunction for the time being while the case remains in court.
The law explicitly said local jurisdictions should comply with detainer requests. "From day one, this law was racially motivated for political gain against the will of local law enforcement and to the detriment of thousands of immigrants who work, live, and call Texas home".
But Judge Edith H. Jones, writing the court's opinion, said it's not clear illegal immigrants are covered by the Fourth Amendment.
She said that under the Trump administration's current policy, ICE officers must issue an administrative warrant to accompany their detainer requests. The first step in an appeal would most likely be to request a review by the full Fifth Circuit court. "Enforcing immigration law prevents the release of individuals from custody who have been charged with serious crimes".
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The ruling will allow the state of Texas to continue enforcing SB 4, which requires local and university law enforcement to abide by the U.S. Immigration Law.
In August 2017, Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio found the legislation was unlikely to withstand constitutional scrutiny and blocked sections of the law just days before it was to take effect. Sanctuary supporters say enlisting police in deportation actions undermines community trust in local law enforcement, particularly among Latinos.
From here, all parties will await a final ruling from the federal court in San Antonio, with an expectation that this case will ultimately be heard by the Supreme Court.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented some of the plaintiffs, said it is exploring its legal options.
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