Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Appeals court backs Texas, Trump in sanctuary city fight

Gov. Greg Abbott R-Texas quickly took to Twitter to announce that the “law is in effect” and that “allegations of discrimination were rejected.” Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law Mostly Survives Appeal Court Fight
Ben Pena | 14 March, 2018, 22:28

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overruled a judgment against a Texas law, the Senate Bill 4 (SB4), that prohibits "sanctuary city" policies in the state, a court filing revealed. "Today's ruling is one step in what is likely a long legal battle, and I remain hopeful that this law will eventually be ruled unconstitutional by the courts".

The law also requires local law enforcement agencies to comply with detainer requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, unless there is proof that the person is a citizen or lawfully in the country.

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.

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 police in Texas can ask individuals detained in routine matters like traffic stops about their immigration status. "Unsafe criminals shouldn't be allowed back into our communities to possibly commit more crimes". They said detainers forced state or local police to hold illegal immigrants beyond their usual release time, infringing on their Fourth Amendment rights.

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Chris Turner, chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, said the law, whether it is constitutional or not, is bad policy.

Texas Republican leaders have not identified any sanctuary cities in the state.

The one part of SB 4 that is still on hold is a provision that punishes local officials from "adopting, enforcing or endorsing" policies that specifically prohibit or limit enforcement of immigration laws.

His administration filed a lawsuit last week challenging three of the state's sanctuary laws, and on Tuesday Mr. Trump - while visiting San Diego to tour prototypes of his border wall - said he wants Congress to strip federal grant money from sanctuaries in the upcoming spending bill. But Tuesday night's ruling means the law goes forward - with stark implications for many Texans.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented some of the plaintiffs, said it is exploring its legal options. "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. "We are also pleased that the court narrowed the law in certain respects and accepted Texas' critical concession that localities are free to decline ICE requests for assistance to preserve local resources", said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.

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