Federal appeals court upholds most of Texas law banning sanctuary cities

Elias Hubbard
March 14, 2018

The law also punishes local government officials who refuse to cooperate when federal immigration agents request that immigrants in custody be turned over to them.

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, quickly took to Twitter to announce that the "law is in effect" and that "allegations of discrimination were rejected". The only part of the Texas law removed by the court was a portion prohibiting local officials from "endorsing" policies that limit immigration enforcement.

Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said they were disappointed in the ruling and will closely monitor how the law is implemented.

Leading the lawsuit were Texas' largest cities- including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin - in a state where the Hispanic population has grown at a pace three times that of white residents since 2010.

In Arizona v. the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state of Arizona could allow state police to investigate the immigration status of individuals who had been legally detained or arrested if there was a reasonable suspicion that the person was in the country illegally. The panel also stated that law enforcement officers, including campus police, with "authority that may impact immigration" can not be prevented from assisting federal immigration officers.

A separate panel of judges ruled in September that the detainer provision could stand until a final determination was made. In their decision on Tuesday, the judges recommended the case go back to the district court level "with instructions to dismiss the vacated injunction provisions".

Texas Republican leaders have not identified any sanctuary cities in the state. While their ruling ultimately will face additional appeals, it allows the "show me your papers" provision of the law to remain in effect for the time being.

Lawyers for Texas said the law helped ensure conformity across the state on the application of immigration law and prevented localities from adopting positions of non-cooperation with federal authorities.

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. "Unsafe criminals shouldn't be allowed back into our communities to possibly commit more crimes".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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