Texas AG praises 5th Circuit ruling to uphold state's sanctuary cities law

15 March, 2018, 05:42 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • US appeals court upholds Texas law targeting sanctuary cities

Tuesday's ruling was only on the temporary injunction of SB 4; now, the district court is set to consider the law itself.

The law allows police officers to ask people during routine stops whether they're in the USA legally and threatens sheriffs with jail time for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities. However, The Washington Times reported Judge Edith H. Jones, wrote in the court's opinion that it's unclear if illegal immigrants are covered by the Fourth Amendment.

The law, known as Senate Bill 4, calls for jail for police chiefs, sheriffs and possibly frontline officers who fail to cooperate over USA immigration.

But she said the state can prevent a locality from adopting or enforcing a sanctuary policy, and can impose penalties on officials who attempt to create sanctuaries. "Unsafe criminals shouldn't be allowed back into our communities to possibly commit more crimes", Paxton said. "I am calling on Congress to deliver a budget that protects our homeland and properly funds all of our law enforcement needs". The Senate bill was enacted in the state of Texas last May.

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.

Passed during the 2017 legislative session, the law seeks to punish so-called "sanctuary cities" by slapping local officials with hefty fines and possible jail time if they don't comply with ICE detainers - federal requests to hold an inmate for possible deportation.

State Sen. Jose Menendez dismissed the law as "unnecessary and politically motivated" adding it was opposed by "virtually everyone in law enforcement".

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Mayor Steve Adler was reserved in his statement to the press.

Today, a ruling came down and virtually all of its most controversial provisions were upheld. Appointed and elected officials, meanwhile, could be removed from office.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott quickly took to Twitter to announce that the "law is in effect" and that "allegations of discrimination were rejected". Several of the nation's largest cities - including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco - have adopted sanctuary policies, and three months into Mr. Trump's presidency, the Justice Department threatened to cut funding to such cities.

Community activists have organized against SB4, arguing it will harm police relations with minority communities. That sat poorly with Abbott, who in turn singled out cities like Austin with SB4.

Olivares said he's already heard this hasn't always been the case and said that's one of the challenges to the law that could be presented to the district judge.

Attorneys and immigrants' rights groups who fought against SB 4 said their next move isn't clear but that they're considering seeking a hearing before the entire 5th Circuit.

Up until now, that argument has met with some measure of success.


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