Court Says Texas Ban On So-Called Sanctuary Cities Can Stand For Now


The ruling leaves the door open for future challengers, who will have to violate Texas's ban and suffer consequences to gain the legal right to sue, the appellate judges said.

SB4 forbids local entities from limiting the enforcement of federal immigration law. The court agreed with the plaintiffs, however, that a provision barring elected officials from "endorsing" sanctuary cities policies is probably unconstitutional. Lee Gelernt, the organization's deputy director of Immigrants' Rights Project, said they are looking at all the legal options.

Chris Turner, chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, said the law, whether it is constitutional or not, is bad policy. It also allows police to ask about immigration status during a lawful detention, such as traffic stops. Texas towns, cities and college campuses must also roll back policies that protect undocumented immigrants or risk the same crippling fines.

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

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

Texas Republican leaders have not identified any sanctuary cities in the state. It also punishes officials who do not comply with federal immigration detainers that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, uses to apprehend individuals through local and state law enforcement agencies, putting those individuals into the federal deportation system. Appointed and elected officials, meanwhile, could be removed from office.

But he did not halt the part of the bill that says police chiefs, sheriffs and other department heads can not forbid officers from questioning a person's immigration status, which means that Texas has been what opponents of the measure call a "papers please" state since the law took effect.

The Obama administration opposed sanctuary cities but Mr. Trump has taken that to a new level, going to war with sanctuaries particularly in California.

Community activists have organized against SB4, arguing it will harm police relations with minority communities.

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. "I am looking forward to an appeal regarding the constitutionality of this misguided, anti-immigrant law".

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

Mike Siegel, assistant city attorney in Austin and a Democratic candidate for Congress, tweeted that Tuesday's ruling is a "terrible result".

"[SB4 will] lead to abuse of power against Latinos and immigrants", warned Anchia.

But the fight isn't over. 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.