Texas’ Anti-Sanctuary City Law Can Be Enforced, Appeals Court Rules

Demonstrators march in the Texas Capitol on Monday, May 29, 2017, protesting the state's newly passed anti-sanctuary cities bill in Austin, Texas. Opponents call Texas' anti-sanctuary cities law a "show your papers" law since it empowers police to inquire about peoples' immigration status during routine interactions such as traffic stops. …
AP File Photo/Meredith Hoffman

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Texas and overturned the lower court’s ruling on the State’s new anti-sanctuary city law. The unanimous decision by the court will allow the State of Texas to move forward with enforcing key provisions of the law including the duty of law enforcement agencies to detain illegal aliens wanted by immigration officials.

“We are pleased today’s 5th Circuit ruling will allow Texas to strengthen public safety by implementing the key components of Senate Bill 4,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “Enforcing immigration law helps prevent dangerous criminals from being released into Texas communities.”

The State will now move forward with its appeal of the ruling by a federal judge in Corpus Christi, Orlando L. Garcia. The judge was appointed to the bench by then-President Bill Clinton.

Garcia issued a preliminary injunction blocking key provisions of SB4 shortly before it was scheduled to go into effect. Namely, the injunction blocked the State’s ability to force law enforcement officials to honor detainers issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Garcia’s ruling left in place, the provision allowing police officers to make inquiries about the immigration/citizenship status of individuals they legally detain, Breitbart Texas reported.

“I am confident Senate Bill 4 will be found constitutional and ultimately upheld,” Paxton continued.

The 5th Circuit found that the provision forcing local governments to comply with immigration detainers should take effect, the Texas AG reported.

In its opinion, the appellate court also stated that some of the law’s provisions “materially limiting” cooperation with immigration officials were too vague, the Texas Tribune reported.

The judges left in place, the lower courts ruling prohibiting local governments from endorsing policies prohibiting or limiting the enforcement of immigration laws. The judges said that provision could be too broadly interpreted.

SB4 makes failing to comply with immigration detainers a Class A misdemeanor for local law enforcement officials. It also provides a process for non-complying sheriffs and police chiefs to be removed from office.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas following his signing of SB4 into law, Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed his confidence in the constitutionality of the new law. He said, “The so-called controversial part of this law is what some label as the “show your papers” component,” the Texas governor explained. “And what everyone seems to get wrong is they think that that provision was stricken down in the Arizona law. To the contrary, the provision in the Arizona law is stricter than the Texas law. The Arizona law required that law enforcement ASK for papers. The Texas law does not require it, it allows it so there is that one difference.”

Judge Garcia appeared to agree with Governor Abbott, writing in his ruling, “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.”

Following the 5th Circuit’s ruling, Abbott said, “Today’s decision is a victory for the Rule of Law and will help keep our communities safe by removing dangerous criminals from our streets. I am confident that moving forward, this law will continue to be upheld as constitutional.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTXGAB, and Facebook.


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