Texas took its fight for the State’s new anti-sanctuary jurisdiction ban to the appellate courts. A judge appointed by then-President Bill Clinton blocked the law’s prohibition on ignoring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers and provisions that address policies that “materially limit” the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
The sanctuary city ban law (Senate Bill 4), the toughest of its kind in America, was to be effective on September 1. Open borders and amnesty advocates obtained a district court block to the new legislation two days before that date.
On Friday, lawyers for the Lone Star State presented oral arguments at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The State of Texas asked the Fifth Circuit to allow a different panel of judges to stay the lower court’s preliminary injunction until a panel on November 6 decides the merits of the appeal.
“We delivered a strong case for allowing Senate Bill 4 to take effect, pending our appeal, because of the far-reaching public safety consequences of the lower court’s order,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said after the argument. “Enforcing immigration law helps prevent dangerous criminals from being released into Texas communities. Supreme Court precedent for measures similar to Texas’ law make clear that Senate Bill 4 is entirely consistent with the cooperative system of government that the Constitution created.”
In May, Breitbart Texas reported in an exclusive interview with Texas Governor Greg Abbott after he signed the new bill that law enforcement and other officials who release criminal aliens with detainers and create “sanctuary” jurisdictions will be subject to the “stiffest penalties in America.” The bill outlawed sanctuary jurisdictions and provided for criminal and civil penalties for law enforcement officials who violate the law.
Senate Bill 4 makes it a crime (Class A misdemeanor) for law enforcement officials to refuse to cooperate with immigration officials and give sanctuary to the criminal illegal aliens in their jails. Sheriffs and police chiefs could also be removed from office.
On August 30, Judge Orlando L. Garcia signed a preliminary injunction that did not block Senate Bill 4 in toto, but did put a halt to the State’s implementing the prohibition against ignoring ICE detainers. The temporary injunction left in place the provision “addressing immigration status inquiries and sharing of immigration status information” but also said the law “does not require that officers make an immigration status inquiry during the process of a lawful detention or arrest.”
In a footnote to his 94-page order, Judge Garcia boiled down his ruling saying, “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.”
Judge Garcia has ruled against Texas in redistricting lawsuits.
The cities of San Antonio, El Paso, Dallas, Austin, Houston and the small Texas border city of El Cenizo sued to block Senate Bill 4 from becoming law. The open borders and pro-amnesty Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), La Unión Del Pueblo Entero, the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education (TACHE), and the Worker’s Defense Project (WDF) are all partners in filing the lawsuits.
A University of Texas/Texas Tribune (UT/TT) poll in June showed that 58 percent of Texas voters either strongly support or somewhat support a requirement for local law enforcement officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, Breitbart Texas reported. The poll also found that voters believe that local law enforcement officers should have the right to ask people about their immigration status.