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Federal Judge Dismissed Attorney General Ken Paxton's "Sanctuary Cities" Lawsuit

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing a new criminal court judge in Houston to discuss his 2015 indictment

A USA district judge in Austin has rejected an effort by Texas to have a law that would punish so-called sanctuary cities be declared constitutional ahead of the measure's effective date next month.

Attorney General Ken Paxton today expressed his disappointment after a U.S. District Court judge in Austin refused his request to consolidate the multiple lawsuits filed against SB 4.

SB 4 requires local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal deportation officers, including sharing information and helping transfer deportable immigrants into federal custody.

This is a developing story.

The fate of the law now likely rests with a separate San Antonio court that's deciding whether or not to block the measure.

In a statement, the attorney general said he was disappointed in Sparks' ruling but that Wednesday's decision has no effect on the San Antonio case. But U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin rejected that move, saying courts aren't in the business of giving advisory opinions.

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"The Court's ruling confirms what we've known all along: the State's preemptive SB4 lawsuit was a farce meant to distract from the real issue-the devastating effect SB4 will have on communities and law enforcement agencies across Texas", said Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney of the ACLU of Texas.

"The health, safety, and welfare of Texans is not negotiable". Police chiefs in those cities say it would have a chilling effect on immigrant communities and prevent crime witnesses and victims from coming forward. "That is a healthy and appropriate debate, and it should be decided in legislatures and Congress".

But Efren Olivares, the director of racial and economic justice at the Texas Civil Rights Project, which represents some of the plaintiffs in the San Antonio case, said he was confident his side would prevail in San Antonio after Sparks saw fit to toss the state's initial challenge.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights group that has argued in court against the law, on Thursday said the Texas suit was a farce aimed at distracting attention from the harm that would come with SB 4.

This post has been updated.

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