US Appeals Court Upholds Texas' Anti-Sanctuary Cities Law

Jay Janner  Austin American-Statesman  AP

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.

A major focal point of the Texas law is the requirement for local authorities to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, or risk jail time if they don't. "We will continue to follow the law as provided to us by the courts in this matter and we will rise to the challenge of keeping Travis County safe, although our ability to overcome fear and foster cooperation within the immigrant community is a greater challenge now", said Hernandez. The Senate bill was enacted in the state of Texas last May.

Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and several border communities sued to block the ban, which forbids mayors, sheriffs or police chiefs from prioritizing local law-enforcement concerns over federal immigration requests.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans allows Texas to enforce what critics call the toughest state-level immigration measure since Arizona passed what critics called a "Show Me Your Papers" law in 2010.

In August, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia halted several parts of the bill, including the provision that requires jail officials to honor the detainer provision.

"Federal law regulates how local entities may cooperate in immigration enforcement; SB4 specifies whether they cooperate", Jones wrote for a unanimous panel.

A separate panel of judges ruled in September that the detainer provision could stand until a final determination was made.

So-called sanctuary cities often do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce federal immigration laws. The case then went to the 5th Circuit.

After Tuesday's ruling was announced, Abbott updated his followers on Twitter, highlighting that claims the bill would lead to racial profiling were rejected.

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. "Allegations of discrimination were rejected".

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton defended the state's sanctuary-city ban as necessary to protect citizens from criminal immigrants whose presence makes US communities "more risky by the day".

In Texas, the fight over a "Sanctuary cities" bill has raged for more than a year, roiling the Republican-controlled Legislature and once provoking a near-fistfight between lawmakers in the state capitol.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also praised the ruling, saying in a statement that SB 4 is constitutional and protects the safety of law enforcement officers and all Texans.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

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