Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law Mostly Survives Appeal Court Fight

U.S. appeals court upholds Texas law against 'sanctuary cities' Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law Mostly Survives Appeal Court Fight
Patty Aguilar | 14 March, 2018, 18:40

A Texas immigration crackdown on "sanctuary cities" took effect Tuesday after a federal appeals court upheld a divisive law backed by the Trump administration that threatens elected officials with jail time and allows police officers to ask people during routine stops whether they're in the US illegally.

The court ruled Tuesday most of the law can take effect while the case plays out.

The judges didn't uphold a provision punishing local officials from "adopting, enforcing or endorsing" policies that specifically prohibit or limit enforcement of immigration laws.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott quickly took to Twitter to announce that the "law is in effect" and that "allegations of discrimination were rejected".

"With one exception, SB 4's provisions do not, on their face, violate the Constitution", the court's opinion reads. "I am looking forward to an appeal regarding the constitutionality of this misguided, anti-immigrant law".

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.

According to the US-based media reports, the "Sanctuary cities" bill allows police officers to ask people during routine stops whether they are in the United States legally and threatens local sheriffs with jail time for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Local sanctuary-city "ordinances regulate whether and to what extend the local entities will participate in federal-local immigration enforcement cooperation". Police chiefs and sheriffs also warn it will make communities less safe, as immigrants shy away from reporting crimes or serving as witnesses for fear of calling attention to themselves or family members.

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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.

After the governor signed the bill during a Facebook Live in May, the city of El Cenizo and Maverick County sued to stop the law and was joined by several local governments, including the cities of Houston, Austin and San Antonio, as well as El Paso County.

The 5th Circuit past 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 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.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was more effusive in his statement that praised what he termed a "common-sense measure that bans sanctuary cities in Texas".

"We continue the struggle on two fronts: another court appeal, and the work to elect new representation in Congress", he said.

The law explicitly said local jurisdictions should comply with detainer requests.

The 3-0 decision by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals marks a major victory for President Trump, who has demanded sanctuary cities be punished for thwarting the federal government and protecting illegal immigrants. The court has not made a final decision in the case.

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