Federal District Court Blocks Texas' Sanctuary Cities Law

A federal district judge on Wednesday blocked significant portions of Texas' sanctuary cities ban, two days before the law was set to go in effect. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia blocked the provisions in the law that required local law enforcement departments to comply with requests from federal authorities to hold unauthorized immigrants in their custody and a provision that blocked local departments from implementing any policies that would "materially limit" the enforcement of immigration laws.It did not block a portion of the law that allows police officers to ask about immigration status during any legal detention, but it limited the actions officers could take after learning that a person was undocumented. Officers could only report the person's immigration status to federal authorities. "In sum, SB 4 gives local officers discretion to inquire and share information but it does not provide them with discretion to act upon the information that they may obtain," Garcia wrote in a footnote. Opponents of the law cheered the decision as a victory. "Today's verdict is not just a victory for El Cenizo and the state of Texas; it's a win for the country. The ruling protects the civil liberties of immigrant communities across the U.S. that live in fear of discrimination due to the color of their skin, accent, and native country. We prevailed in blocking state lawmakers from rolling back decades of progress our nation has made on civil rights," said Roger Rocha, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, one of the lead plaintiffs in the case. "SB4 was never about making us safer," Dallas Representative Rafael Anchia, who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said in a written statement. "Proponents of SB4 failed to grasp the detrimental impact this bill will have on every community in Texas. We thank the court for once again stepping in to uphold the constitution and protect Texans from discrimination."  Continue reading...

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