US Appeals Court Upholds Texas' Crackdown on 'Sanctuary Cities'


On March 13, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit defending the Texas foster care system from judicially imposed directives that could harm more children than it would help.

A panel of three US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled Tuesday that most of the state's immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can remain in effect while the case plays out, handing a victory to Gov. While the appeals panel rejected one component of the law, which would have barred officials from endorsing policies curbing immigration crackdowns, the rest now stands.

"I'm pleased the 5th Circuit recognized that Senate Bill 4 is lawful, constitutional and protects the safety of law enforcement officers and all Texans", Paxton said.

The judges didn't go that far, but they did say the federal government's "detainer" requests, which ask local governments to hold illegal immigrants for pickup, are legal. The panel also stated that law enforcement officers, including campus police, with "authority that may impact immigration" can not be prevented from assisting federal immigration officers. Reacting to Tuesday's ruling, many of them expressed disappointment but also resolve. "Law is in effect". "The State of Texas has made clear that they will continue to use immigrant families as a pawn in divisive politics", said Sam Robles of the Workers Defense Project in a statement. Several of the nation's largest cities - including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco - have adopted sanctuary policies, and three months into Mr. Trump's presidency, the Justice Department threatened to cut funding to such cities. 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. "Enforcing immigration law prevents the release of individuals from custody who have been charged with serious crimes". "Our police chief tells us this law will make us less safe because it breaks down the trust we've earned with many of our communities".

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Among those challenging the Texas law were several of the state's largest cities and counties - including Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, as well as El Paso County - and a number of advocacy groups. The 5th Circuit Court then temporarily stayed the ruling so it could hear arguments.

"We are exploring all legal options going forward".

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.