Texas' Ban on 'Sanctuary Cities' Can Begin, Appeals Court Rules

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

But he did not halt the part of the bill that says police chiefs, sheriffs and other department heads can not forbid officers from questioning a person's immigration status, which means that Texas has been what opponents of the measure call a "papers please" state since the law took effect.

As passed, Senate Bill 4 allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and punishes local government department heads and elected officials who don't cooperate with federal immigration "detainers" - requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation - in the form of jail time and penalties that exceed $25,000.

So-called sanctuary cities often do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce federal immigration laws. "Law is in effect", Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted after the ruling was published. Tuesday's ruling found that not to be the case, aside from the "endorsement prohibition" that is still on hold.

In a new ruling, a federal appeals court has upheld most of Texas law targeting sanctuary cities in what some are calling the toughest state-level immigration measure in the country.

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. "Allegations of discrimination were rejected".

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The ruling was a blow to Texas' biggest cities - including Houston, Dallas and San Antonio - that sued previous year to prevent enforcement of what opponents said is now the toughest state-level immigration measure on the books in the U.S.

Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the decision, saying in a statement: 'Enforcing immigration law prevents the release of individuals from custody who have been charged with serious crimes'.

Mayor Steve Adler was reserved in his statement to the press.

"Words just can't express how disappointed I am with this ruling", Hernandez said.

"Federal law regulates how local entities may cooperate in immigration enforcement; SB4 specifies whether they cooperate", Jones wrote for a unanimous panel. "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". The first step in an appeal would most likely be to request a review by the full Fifth Circuit court. "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.

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