Federal appeals court's ruling upholds most of Texas' "sanctuary cities" law

Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law Mostly Survives Appeal Court Fight

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overruled a judgment against a Texas law, the Senate Bill 4 (SB4), that prohibits "sanctuary city" policies in the state, a court filing revealed. While the appeals court leaves most of SB4 in effect, it did reject a provision in the law that stops local officials from "endorsing" policies aimed at curbing immigration enforcement.

Plaintiffs contend the law could lead to racial profiling and divert resources from local police, who would be under the threat of job loss and fines if they do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. 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. The major cities that were plaintiffs in the suit said they had been abiding by all legal USA detainer requests.

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

"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.

"Law is in effect", he said on Twitter.

Mr. Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said his organization would also be monitoring how the law was carried out.

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But Judge Edith H. Jones, writing the court's opinion, said it's not clear illegal immigrants are covered by the Fourth Amendment.

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

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. Several of the nation's largest cities - including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco - have adopted sanctuary policies, and three months into Mr. Trump's presidency, the Justice Department threatened to cut funding to such cities.

Texas Republican leaders have not identified any sanctuary cities in the state. He also blocked sections that prohibit local entities from pursuing "a pattern or practice that "materially limits" the enforcement of immigration laws" and another that prohibits "assisting or cooperating" with federal immigration officers as reasonable or necessary.

The 5th Circuit previous year quickly stayed much of Judge Garcia's blockade, and Tuesday's ruling was an even bigger spanking for the Clinton-appointed Judge Garcia.

The ACLU issued a travel alert for Texas over the bill, and said it is challenging the latest ruling.