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Texas Strikes Back Against Sanctuary Cities

15 March 2018

A federal appeals court on Tuesday allowed Texas to enforce a law that barred local governments from adopting sanctuary policies, except for a provision that raised First Amendment concerns.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued a ruling regarding Texas's Senate Bill 4, which was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott on May 7, 2017.

The Texas law allows police officers to ask people during routine stops whether they're in the US legally and threatens sheriffs with jail time for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had defended the law in court, said he was pleased with the ruling.

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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.

"SB 4 will continue to jeopardize the safety of Texas communities by forcing our local police officers to enforce federal immigration laws instead of keeping families safe", said Anchia. "Enforcing immigration laws prevents the release of individuals in custody who have been charged with serious crimes, and we must not allow risky criminals to return to our communities to commit more crimes", he said.

"The mandates, penalties and exacting punishments under SB4 upset the delicate balance between federal enforcement and local cooperation and violate the United States Constitution", said Judge Garcia. "Unsafe criminals shouldn't be allowed back into our communities to possibly commit more crimes".

The law is one of the most controversial in recent Texas history.

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On January 25, President Donald Trump ordered the resumption of the 2008 Secure Communities program that relied on information sharing among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and deport immigrants with criminal records.

The ruling comes just a week after the DOJ sued California for its "sanctuary" status.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, which filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of several cities, including Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, said it would consider how to move forward. "The court made clear that we remain free to challenge the manner in which the law is implemented, so we will be monitoring the situation on the ground closely", he said. Sanctuary supporters say enlisting police in deportation actions undermines community trust in local law enforcement, particularly among Latinos.

A U.S. District Court in San Antonio granted a preliminary injunction of SB 4 on August 30, just two days before it was scheduled to take effect.

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Texas Strikes Back Against Sanctuary Cities