Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

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

Federal appeals court's ruling upholds most of Texas'

Lawmakers and activists slammed a federal appeals court ruling allowing a hardline anti-immigration law to take effect in Texas.

"Today's ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit doesn't change the fact that Senate Bill 4 is unnecessary, makes Texas communities less safe and complicates law enforcement officials' already hard jobs", Turner said.

The only part of the bill that remains on hold is a provision punishing local government leaders and or elected officials who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials, such as the mayor of Oakland, Calif., who tipped off residents of an immigration raid.

Tuesday's opinion by U.S. Circuit Judge Edith H. Jones rejected the argument that immigration policy should be left to Congress, not the states.

Greg Abbott praised the ruling.

With Tuesday's ruling, the sanctuary cities ban is now in effect and local officials could be fined anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000 if they do not uphold the law.

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.

Sanctuary cities are jurisdictions that have policies limiting or, in their more extreme forms, thwarting cooperation with ICE deportation efforts. 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.

His threats have been unpersuasive, with the number of sanctuaries expanding dramatically during his first 14 months in office.

Judge Orlando Garcia asserted the law would erode trust between police and immigrant communities, making them less safe.

The Trump administration is waging a separate court battle to invalidate three laws in California that block local officials from complying with federal immigration directives.

The case is City of El Cenizo v. Texas, 17-50762, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans).

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented some of the plaintiffs, said it is exploring its legal options.

Andre Segura, legal director of the ACLU of Texas, said illegal immigrants also still have the right to remain silent when questioned about their immigration status. "The court made clear that we remain free to challenge the manner in which the law is implemented, so we will be monitoring the situation on the ground closely", he said.

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